• Ginny Baillie

Groups do what they want, not what you want



The group dynamic arises independently of what any one part of it intends.


There may be one in the group who is the leader, and they might naively think they can ultimately influence the group's performance; the group may give every indication that is the case whilst proceeding to operate differently than intended. It might follow that the more the leader or the organisation exerts a directive to influence, the deeper the group may go to subvert those intentions.


If this is true, what does this mean for the way you work with the leaders of your organisation? I observe that both the organisation and the leader are often cautious about self-management, thinking space and non-directive leadership. We can still cleave to command and control; it can feel like ‘leadership’ when it is anything but. Try it with kids who are in a non-compliant mood, and you get a general idea.


Having direct experiences for yourselves as leaders of non-conformist, non-directive spaces can build confidence in creating them for your people. They are creating such spaces inside their groups and heads whether you do or you don’t, so aligning with what is happening can be smart.


Further reading


https://www.researchgate.net/publication/236315342_An_introduction_to_Tavistock-style_group_relations_conference_learning