There must be POWER in collective decision-making. It seems to us, in this case, more reliable to say that group opinion is more reliable than individual opinion. Throughout history, there has been a secret consensus within shared cultures that has sustained great societies, countries, and civilizations.
The subtle point of teamwork is this: do you tend to highlight your importance among others or represent a certain value to others? Highlighting your importance requires you to assert your ego. Significance to others requires you to assert an independent principle that others may not realize, but you know that your job is to explain your point of view to them for their own good.
Sometimes you need to be prepared for your team members to dismiss “principle” as “your idea” and then every moment becomes a question of whether to follow the majority and go in the wrong direction or stick with yourself and believe this is the right way, and vice versa.
The point of the article is that individuality in a team is important for self-preservation when you know how to subordinate it to yourself. First, it is absolutely logical to argue that creative people are hardly conformists, but they need to work long and hard on themselves in order to study themselves and get an idea of the strength of their own character.
When you know you are right, are you able to prove yourself to the team? Or do you talk yourself into making convenient compromises? Do you listen to what others have to say before you form your own opinion? Do you adjust your own opinion so that it closely matches the general opinion of the group?
If you cannot rely on the opinion of the group, you better find a replacement or you need to develop the talent of ruthless self-criticism. If you are willing to stand up for your principles, you better make sure those principles are right. Your own ego isn’t hard to defend; it only takes a burst of hormone to unleash the ego into a frenzy. In fact, most insistent people are not really intellectually insistent – they are just selfishly insistent. To learn how to insist skillfully, you need to develop an idea-breaking demon within yourself to critique ideas (especially your own) from every possible angle. Only an idea that can survive the conditions of the meat grinder is worth further consideration.
Maintaining your individuality in the face of groupthink will not take away your ability to ask for advice from people whose opinions you respect. You are more likely to start weighing differences of opinion before coming to a decision.
We are sure that there have been instances in your life when, after careful questioning of the details of the recommended work direction, and after lengthy discussions, you have stated that you would go in the opposite direction! It seems that you have simply wasted your team members’ time and used software to track that time and invoice it accordingly. The trick here is that the value of your opponents is not in the recommendations themselves, but in the reasoning behind those recommendations. The question is: are you sure that your own arguments are enough for you? Or is accepting their reasoning, when the recommendations are clearly good, outside your comfort zone? Thus, you are not making decisions based on what your advisors vote for; you are making decisions based on the soundness of their reasoning. If they offer no argument more than what you have already anticipated, then you may conclude that the correct thinking is your own, and you may push back on it. On the other hand, your thimbles’ ability to surprise you is their trump card, which is capable of making such an impression that you change your own mind.
This is a very difficult topic, it is very difficult, if not easier just to write about it, to align your behavior with it. Your path in life very much depends on it. As a team member yourself, be always prepared for disapproval from the team and balance the group’s contribution to the common good with a rigorous process of self-criticism, supplemented by criticism from team members as time requires.