Doers Find Workplace Cliques Distracting

One of the first things Doers encounter when they enter a new workplace is an intensive effort by other employees to recruit them into a clique. Those who hold a negative view of the organization will pull the Doer aside to warm him or her about whom to trust and whom to watch out for. They provide Doers with a biased history of how to act and how things get done.

At the same time those cliques with a positive view will attempt to recruit members who are anxious to do well. Thus the Doer is immediately torn as to which clique to join. It feels much like a return to junior high school where they were forced to chose sides.

Whenever ambiguity exists and there is no formal way to determine which direction to follow, employees form cliques in an effort to gain support for their way of thinking. Employees who are part of a clique feel involved and included. Those who are not, feel excluded.

The decision to join a clique can have serious consequences. If management views a clique as disruptive, its members will be labeled accordingly. The consequences could be fewer promotions or dismissal when a reduction in force is called for. On the other hand employees who join cliques that management views as “good” are rewarded with promotions and increased job responsibilities.

Management can take steps to curb the formation of energy draining cliques. These steps must begin when the employee is first hired.

Management should focus on welcoming Doers. This works best when a new person is assigned a workplace guide who can show him or her how to get things done. This indoctrination process should begin the moment of hiring. The workplace guide should meet the Doer on the first day at the front door, and then make certain someone takes him or her to lunch for the first few weeks.

The Doers new supervisor should also stay involved and be accessible so that he or she has someone to go to when faced with ambiguity or uncertainty.

Doers need to be encouraged to say when they are confused. By admitting they need clarification, they are better able to garner useful information from credible sources. Admitting to being confused allows the Doers to explore the basis of the ambiguity and get clarification thus counteracting their need to join a clique.

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