Good Leaders Don’t File a “Missing Persons Alert”

As 2018 rolls along, it seems as if there is an ever-increasing amount of societal turbulence on every front. Groupthink dominates the headlines, social media platforms, the workplace and our private lives.According to Wikipedia;

Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences.

Groupthink requires individuals to avoid raising controversial issues or alternative solutions, and there is loss of individual creativity, uniqueness and independent thinking. The dysfunctional group dynamics of the “ingroup” produces an “illusion of invulnerability” (an inflated certainty that the right decision has been made). Thus the “ingroup” significantly overrates its own abilities in decision-making and significantly underrates the abilities of its opponents (the “outgroup”). Furthermore, groupthink can produce dehumanizing actions against the “outgroup”.

It is a challenge to every leader, at every level, to not succumb to groupthink. This is especially important when dealing with people, one-on-one. The sanctity of the individual is paramount, always. The individual is always the first casualty of groupthink. A great leader looks at each and every one of her subordinates as individuals whose wellbeing has been placed in her hands. The leader is their greatest advocate. The leader is the one who will always have the individual’s best interest in mind. A successful leader notices successes and failures and acknowledges them appropriately. A good leader knows when his people’s birthdays are.

I have seen many times where a five-minute personal conversation could have averted hours of conflict resolution and even litigation.

Make yourself a list of five or six things that indicate to you whether a co-worker cares about you, respects you and knows about you. Do they know your name? Do they know where your desk is and what you do?

Now, ask yourself how many of those items are things you know about or do with your subordinates.
A few rules to keep individuality alive;
” Keep your word, especially when given to one person.
” Respect their time.
” Know when their birthday is.
” Anticipate their needs and provide what will help them before they have to ask for it.
” Applaud their successes and help them through their failures.

Know your people well enough that you can help them be successful and not turn up missing in action. Good leaders shouldn’t have to file a ‘Missing Persons Alert’!