A Leader’s Worst Enemy: Self-Sabotage & Groupthink
Note to self: Self-sabotage — Ouch! I can relate!. I have these, and I have suffered because of them. But I know leaders are not born, they are “mostly” made. And because we are on our on-the-job-training in leadership, and we must give ourselves grace and space. Grace to forgive the mistakes we will make and the space to grow because we learned from experience.
There are interesting sources about the origins of self-sabotage. There is the Mother Wound Idea that a child is biologically hard-wired to seek the mother’s approval to survive. Webster further states that this is approval seeking behavior may trigger unconscious bullying because of the deprivation consciousness that can be found in some women in patriarchal cultures.
Another interesting detail that contributes to self-sabotage is growing up in a broken family structure. Children who are victims of these circumstances have a natural propensity to attract needy, insecure, clinging, narcissistic takes that demand more than their share of attention, love, and security .
Self-sabotage can also be called automatic negative thoughts (ANT). ANTs are thoughts that are negative and random about oneself. Seth Czerepak said that “Universal opinions are often mistaken for universal principles.” And groupthink is similar because there are no longer avenues for critical thinking. The least resistance to the presented idea is adopted because it feels more comfortable rather than go through the rigors of a lively discussion or a debate. But groupthink is not beneficial at all if you need to be challenged. Even ancient Hebrew scripture does not agree with group think — consider Proverbs 27:17 — Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
Together, self-sabotage and groupthink make for a deadly combination. When a leader with ANTs influence others who are also ANTS, then we have a disaster in the making. An example where self-sabotaging habits and groupthink caused one of the worst disasters in America.
The Dust Bowl Farming — The market-driven agricultural practices of U.S. farmers — plowing the virgin topsoil of the Great Plains and monoculture farming — led to one of the most disastrous ecological events in the nation’s history. Between 1930 and 1940, drought conditions and depleted farmland caused severe dust storms, some reaching 10,000 feet in the sky and called “Black Blizzards.” About 2.5 million people were displaced, and the catastrophe compounded the Great Depression, creating what some have called the country’s “most hard time.”
Some of the disastrous effects of groupthink and self-sabotaging habits from the leaders during this time:
- Market Driven Agricultural Practices–groupthink and lack of planning — the leaders were driven to be greedy because of the market demands.
- Plowing virgin top-soil — groupthink and lack of planning — leaders did not think things through.
- Monoculture farming — groupthink, no vision of the future — same thing- leadership forced the practice.