What happens to groups when leaders are absent?

Groups lose focus without leaders


While all team members have important roles, a certain few play a unique role in its success. Leaders are usually the centrepiece of these arrangements, put in charge in order to help with everything from decision making to personal development.

However, what happens when these influential people aren’t involved? New research has discovered that in the absence of leadership skills training, groups of people often approach the decision-making process in their own unique way. In most cases, this is radically different to how leaders respond to pressure.

The research was conducted by Carnegie Mellon University and focused on what happens to groups when no single member has access to all the information necessary to make a knowledgeable choice.

Most importantly, the researchers revealed the most influential features for groups that face these situations. It’s essential that leaders are aware of these preferences, as they could add to their conflict management skills or other traits in challenging situations.

One of the key conclusions the researchers discovered was that groups of people like stable options. The more potential there is for variation in the results, the less likely they are to select that choice.

Another feature that proved essential to this process is positive feedback. Choices that are already backed by some semblance of support are more likely to be chosen as it streamlines the process for groups of people.

In essence, it’s simplicity that often has the biggest effect on groups of people, as author of the study Russell Golman stated.

“When everyone has to do the same thing, you want to be slow and steady to avoid extreme choices,” he said.

The unique way groups of people react to situations also comes into effect when they approach different forms of media. According to Ogilvy PR, groups of people respond more positively to ‘traditional media’ such as television and print news than social media.

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