Interdependence is an important characteristic of a collaborative team culture. However, if you achieve interdependence without respect for diversity, the result is a team dysfunction called “groupthink”. When the members of the group are so similar that blind spots go undetected, groupthink tends to develop.
To avoid groupthink, it’s important that your team makes room for open disagreement and the following attitudes:
- Respect for divergent thinking.
- Appreciation for the unique skills everyone brings to the team.
- Personal responsibility and accountability.
- Cooperative rather than win/lose problem-solving.
- The ability to forgive.
- Appreciation for diversity.
- Member empowerment.
Behaviors that foster groupthink:
- Procedures based on directional leadership and command-and-control practices.
- Intolerance for diversity.
- Leadership-focused problem-solving.
- Worthwhile ideas must conform to leader’s agenda.
- No tolerance for dissension.
Groupthink can devastate effective collaborations. Historical examples of groupthink include the Nixon impeachment because of Watergate, repressive governments, sexism in companies, and religious cults.