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How Groupthink Causes Teams to Fail

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area  Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage  and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

Dr. Maynard Brusman
Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach
Trusted Advisor to Senior Leadership Teams

Teamwork demands shared responsibility, but it also demands individual contributions. It fails if team members shelter behind the consensus.

 ~ Robert Heller, Founding Editor, Management Today

I recently spoke with the director of human resources at a San Francisco Bay Area company regarding providing executive coaching and leadership development for the executive team. The director of human resourcesasked some very insightful questions to determine whether we were a good fit. She specifically wanted to know how I worked with different personality styles, and my methods for working with executive teams. She was very interested in my leadership development work with helping executive team deal with groupthink.

The director of human resources and I spoke about my approach to working with executive teams, and my belief that groupthink can sometimes diminish creativity and innovation. We also spoke of the need for her organization to work with a management consultant to help their company create a culture where creativity and innovation thrives.

The director of human resources is interested in partnering with me in helping their executive team work more collaboratively while maximizing each leader’s individual creativity. We further discussed how other company executives could benefit by working with a seasoned executive coach.

A recent survey found that 91 percent of high-level managers believe teams are the key to success. But the evidence doesn’t always support this assertion. Many teamwork-related problems remain hidden from view.

Every team thinks it does its best work when the stakes are highest. On the contrary, pressures to perform drive people toward safe solutions that are justifiable, rather than innovative.

Corporations increasingly organize workforces into teams, a practice that gained popularity in the ’90s. By 2000, roughly half of all U.S. organizations used teams; today, virtually all do.

Some teams work together from remote locations, relying on technical communication aids, such as web conferencing and email. Others demand a tremendous amount of face-to-face interaction, including team-building retreats, shared online calendars, meetings and physical workspaces that afford little privacy.

“Innovation—the heart of the knowledge economy—is fundamentally social,” writes prominent journalist Malcolm Gladwell.

Management expert Peter Drucker, who coined the term “knowledge worker,” points out that while people have always worked in tandem, “teams become the work unit rather than the individual himself” in knowledge work.

Working in teams has definite advantages:

  • Improved information-sharing
  • Better decisions, products and services
  • Higher employee motivation and engagement

There are, however, several barriers to achieving great work from teams:

  • Some individuals are faster (or better) on key tasks.
  • Developing and maintaining teams can prove costly.
  • Some individuals do less work, relying on others to complete assigned tasks.

Most corporate leaders nonetheless believe the benefits of teamwork far outweigh the costs.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches and leadership consultants provide leadership development to develop emotionally intelligent leaders and teams? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to increase their emotional intelligence and social intelligence? Enlightened leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Does groupthink diminish the performance of our teams?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their transformational peak performance leadership development and team building programs.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can teams minimize groupthink and maximize creativity and high performance. You can become a leader who models emotionalintelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

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