Team Building: What Does Conformity Have to Do with It?
Of course, we would like to get along with our teammates. So, sometimes when we think it’s a pretty good idea, we just simply agree. Also, we certainly don’t enjoy people criticizing our thoughts, especially the areas of our expertise.
On teams, team members often would rather avoid conflict. I don’t think any of us go home at the end of the day and say, “Honey, let’s have a conflict tonight.”
But often we are put on teams to solve problems and make decisions. The fatigue of disagreement can wear us down. Sometimes we just don’t feel like speaking up anymore, when we have concerns or reservations.
However, there are times team members just go along with the first idea presented, if it seems reasonable, plausible, or forcefully presented. Sometimes it feels like there is no good reason to create conflict, especially when some members are enthusiastic about the initial suggestion, or when we feel the pressure go along to get along, and we conform.
One of the problems with conformity is that it limits the use of group resources. We miss the lively discussions of differing perspectives and insights that could improve the idea and its implementation.
Another problem with conformity is that we are missing a valuable component of good group process: conflict. Often better decisions are made when there are some disagreements.
Another problem, is without conflict, there may be a lack of commitment and an avoidance of accountability.
So, the solution is participation. If we have had a voice in the discussion we will probably be more committed to the final decision and committed to the implementation and the results.
Develop your confidence to ask questions when unsure. Find some value in listening to others’ ideas and suggestions. They will probably say something worthwhile.
When everybody agrees with an idea with very little discussion, disagreement, or debate, it might be a good idea to question conformity…no one else is going to.
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