Team Development and Leadership in Organizations





Team Development and Leadership in Organizations

  1. Groupthink usually takes place among a faction of individuals. Coined by Irving L. Janis in 1972, the term describes the psychological occurrence that motivates people to exert inclination towards consensus inside a group (Janis 37). Simply, groupthink arises from the need to value harmony and cohesion over evaluation and accurate assessment. It normally forces members of a respective group to follow the directions of the leader without questioning him or her. In addition to this, groupthink, as an influential force, dejects any form of disagreement or discontentment with the alleged consensus. In several cases, individuals tend to establish their personal convictions. In other cases, members of a group are more inclined to take in the viewpoints of the whole group without any questions. Alternately, the people viewed as opposing forces to the group’s overriding opinion or the decisions imposed tend to be silent. This is because they would rather preserve peace within the faction rather than be the cause of disruption in relation to the cohesiveness of the group. Regarding this and an overall analysis of groupthink, Janis established that the firm conviction of the member in the innate ethics of the faction influenced him or her to lessen decision disputes between moral values and pragmatism, specifically in instances whereby the group affiliates are more likely to engage in violence (Packer 546). Interestingly, the belief that the group is benevolent and wise motivates the members to utilize group concurrence in determining the morality and the efficiency of proposed and implemented policies under discourse. Due to the supposed effect of groupthink, various measures can be used to mitigate the risk of groupthink. Foremost, the leaders of a group can encourage affiliates to raise issues and objections (Packer 547). As identified, this phenomenon restricts individual members from questioning the leader and the direction of the group. As such, allowing them to express themselves limits the psychological occurrence from taking place. Secondly, leaders can refrain from alleging or declaring their predilections at the beginning of the cohort’s activities. By refusing to do this, group leaders influence members to avert from the supposed directions of the faction and establish their own ways. Groupthink mitigation can also take place by permitting the group in question to undergo an independent evaluation by a different faction managed by a disparate leader. The utilization of a different group for evaluation allows the group to be directed farther from any form of stability. By conducting the assessment on an individual basis, disruption will occur and break the cohesiveness of the group. Simply, the individuals will avert from the group consensus and begin to think about their personal welfare. Furthermore, carrying out a separate assessment of the group provided a fair platform for understanding the extent to which groupthink has spread within the faction in question (Packer 547). Another strategy that can be used to mitigate groupthink involves group splitting. In this respect, the leader can focus on splitting the faction within a range of various sub-groups. In addition, the new splinters will possess disparate chairpersons (Packer 547). These chairpersons will develop separate alternatives that will be used to unite the sub-factions cohesively in order to uncover the differences. Additionally, the leaders can permit the members of a group to receive feedback on the choices and decisions of the group from its personal elements. On another scope, it is still important to note that groupthink is more likely to occur among a group of high performance individuals. Usually, the phenomenon takes place especially among members possessing a correspondent (equivalent) background (Packer 547). In this instance, high performance constitutes the same factor among members. As such, groupthink is inclined to occur. As such, this particular aspect establishes groups as the sum of their constituent parts.
  2. A leadership style that can be effective for managing high performing individuals is the transactional leadership pattern. Indeed, teams with high performing persons tend to be increasingly cohesive. Based on this, such persons tend to focus more on gratifying the overall goals of their own personal interests rather than those of the group. Additionally, individuals in high-performing factions will be more inclined to be cooperative as well as effective in the accomplishment of goals set for them. Because of these qualities, transactional leadership can be effective in managing such individuals. Generally, this leadership style concentrates mainly on the responsibilities of organization, the performance of a group, and supervision (Hargis, Wyatt, and Piotrowski 53). However, in this context, transactional leadership can appeal to the self-interest of the members since it allows them to focus on receiving rewards after they have completed their respective obligations. Through a structure of punishment and rewards, transactional leadership motivates ambitious individuals. Furthermore, it appeals to persons who are inspired by external forms of incentives such as compensation. Nonetheless, for low performers, the transactional leadership style can be highly amoral and dispiriting. Its insistence on high performance may actually cause considerable staff turnover among low-performing individuals. Consequently, an effective way of managing such individuals involves the adoption of transformational leadership. Unlike transactional leadership, the latter leadership style pays close attention to the individual rather than the whole group. Transformational leaders do not fiction as reward givers or punishers. Instead, their considerable degree of emotional intelligence enables them to exhibit empathy for all the members of the team (Hargis, Wyatt, and Piotrowski 74). Ultimately, the utilization of empathy influences a scrutiny of the different elements that may be responsible for inducing low performance. As such, transformational leaders can note abstract aspects such as resentment, fear, self-deprecation, disinterest, and narcissism, which is rather complicated in terms of transactional leadership. Therefore, in lieu of this, transformational leadership can enable motivation among the team members (Hargis, Wyatt, and Piotrowski 80). This is because the leaders, after noting the reasons for low performance, will be more inclined to change the outlook of the members and render themselves responsible. For a mixed group, a leadership style that would be most applicable in management comprises an integration of both the transformational and servant styles of leadership. Despite possessing considerable disparity, both measures emphasize separately on the motivation of the team member and the development of the relevant skill that he or she possesses. The reason for this blend is based on the Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership conjecture (Bass 101). In this context, the premise alleges that leaders encounter different circumstances (Bass 101). As such, there is a not a one-size-fits-all approach that can be implemented by leaders in the different situations they face. Hence, leaders need to be aware of the dimensions of a particular situation and focus on implementing a style that fits with the elements of that respective circumstance. Hence, in a mixed group, a blend of transformational and servant leadership styles can be effective in management. Foremost, the emphasis on individual motivation under transformational leadership can coincide well with the need to develop personal potential as accentuated in the servant leadership models. Therefore, by amalgamating both styles of leadership, leaders can actually concentrate on motivating low performers and high performers to accomplish the goals set for the group. Additionally, the emphasis on skill or the development of potential can also appeal to low performers to satisfy the set goals of the group. Certain general factors need to be considered by leaders in determining their leadership styles. Foremost, the level of participation among members is an imperative aspect to contemplate. Indeed, every leadership style influences participation differently among the members of a group (Northouse 67). For instance, the autocratic style may restrict the degree of involvement among the subordinates especially in activities such as decision-making. On the alternate extreme, the laissez-faire form may allow full participation of the group in decision-making roles (Northouse 70). Democratic leadership, on the other hand, falls on the center by involving members in the decision-making process without delegating too much power. Secondly, the level of performance among group members can also influence the style of leadership under consideration (Northouse 89). Accordingly, leaders need to choose a specific management pattern depending on the evidence of low, middle, or high performance levels among the members of the group. Lastly, the level of power that a leader seeks to exhibit over the group members also influences the style that he or she will select.
  3. Indeed, it is possible to allege that human beings are all hardwired to make bad decisions. Usually, the pressure associated with decision-making tends to establish the foundation upon which failure can occur. As such, individuals are considerably inspired to avoid engaging in decisions that they will regret. However, the stress derived from trying to avoid this occurrence can actually affect one’s effectiveness in the process of decision-making. Much of this incidence is attributed to the evidence of cognitive biases. Cognitive bias is common and may actually lead to inadequate judgment and irrational construction of an event, situation, or decision. As such, it affects every individual regardless of the title they possess. Similarly, leaders are not free from cognitive biases. Normally, such figures may find themselves engaging in poor decision-making in different situations due to this biological fault. Scientifically, leaders tend to engage in decision-making via unconscious mental practices deemed as emotional tagging and pattern recognition (Campbell, Whitehead, and Finkelstein 5). These procedures tend to influence leaders by persuading them to commit rapid and effective decisions. However, such processes are not free from distortion via emotional attachments, self-interest, or even disingenuous memories. In elucidation, leaders are capable of making rapid choices through the recognition of similar patterns within the different circumstances they may encounter. While encountering a novel situation, individuals tend to make presumptions that are based on past judgments and experiences. This is due to the complexity of the pattern recognition process, which allows the amalgamation of information from over 30 disparate regions of the human brain (Campbell, Whitehead, and Finkelstein 7). Nonetheless, this is not enough to guide their final actions. Consequently, the recognition of similar patterns may be accompanied by sentimental associations that relate to these particular trends. Hence, in most cases, the process functions superbly. Regardless of this, it can still establish grave mistakes especially in instances where there is evidence of bias judgment. For instance, the mistake made by Matthew Broderick during the occurrence of Hurricane Katrina can substantiate this (Campbell, Whitehead, and Finkelstein 10). Accordingly, Broderick had taken part in operation hubs within Vietnam as well as different military-based engagements. Aside from this, Broderick had directed the operations center of Homeland Security during past hurricanes. Such experiences had influenced him to discard early reports concerning a key event. However, his reliance on contrary reports influenced him to issue a circumstantial report alleging the non-breach of the levees, which was untrue at the time (Campbell, Whitehead, and Finkelstein 13). Hence, due to such effects, the evidence of bad decisions poses several implications for leaders. Foremost, leaders need to understand that the decisions they make irrespective of the accessibility to information can often be desperately flawed. As such, managers are required to discover structured measures that can be helpful in the identification of sources pertaining to cognitive bias. With this, they can be able to develop safeguards that incorporate more assessments, considerable debates, and reinforced governance.






















Works Cited

Bass, Bernard. Bass & Stogdill’s Handbook of Leadership: Theory, Research & Managerial Applications. New York: The Free Press, 2008. Print.

Campbell, Andrew, Jo Whitehead, and Sydney Finkelstein. “Why Good Leaders Make Bad Decisions.” Harvard Business Review. 1 Feb. 2009. Web. 19 Dec. 2014.

Hargis, Michael B., John D. Wyatt, and Chris Piotrowski. “Developing Leaders: Examining the Role of Transactional and Transformational Leadership across Contexts Business.” Organization Development Journal 29.3 (2011): 51–66. Print.

Janis, Irving L. “Groupthink.” IEEE Engineering Management Review 36.1 (2008): 36-42. Print.

Northouse, Peter G. Leadership: Theory and Practice. Los Angeles: SAGE, 2013. Print.

Packer, D. J. “Avoiding Groupthink: Whereas Weakly Identified Members Remain Silent, Strongly Identified Members Dissent about Collective Problems.” Psychological Science 20.5 (2009): 546–548. Print.

Riggio, Ronald E., Ira Chaleff, and Jean Lipman-Blumen. The Art of Followership: How Great Followers Create Great Leaders and Organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008. Print.

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