But everyone is an individual! – Behaviour in Groups
Have you ever had the experience in your team or staff room people where complain about a situation, rule, or person? Then you meet in a bigger group: you voice the complaint that you know others hold but they remain silent. The group ends with no addressing of the complaint. The complaint continues unabated in the team or staff room.
What is it about groups that silences people? Is it a fear of being exposed, ridiculed? Do groups of men and women act the same? What about groups of UK people? Groups are in our DNA: we are born into a group: even if it is just a child and carer: a group of two. Families are groups and act in unique ways.
Are English people in groups dominated by the stereotype of the English person being an emotionally repressed one particularly around anger. Is it in the 0 or 10 anger factor?
0 being a repressed anger which remains invisible; and 10 being a leopard type leap anger attack? If these are the only two options having a mood score of higher than 0 is dangerous.
Not rocking the boat, keeping your head down, acting fairly so that nobody takes up too much time in the group are the unwritten rules of English behaviour: which outside cultural groups find difficult to understand.
When one of the group fails to attend without informing the group, the group is left holding the anxiety wondering what has happened. Have they had an accident? Has the group done something to upset them? How can these group paper over the cracks of anxiety? When the person returns, the group becomes divided: those who are upset at being let down, while others not able to tolerate the disharmony explain the absence away as an advantage, or learning opportunity – which it might be.
When the group is interrupted by a disturbance or lateness, and a complaint is voiced other group members metaphorically scrabble to alert with their yard wide brushes to sweep up. Please: no mess, no discomfort, no anxiety.
Group behaviour is impossible to predict but maybe two big influences in the rainy UK are gender and class, and how anger is dealt with. Men and women in groups act differently, particularly when one gender dominates the group over the other. Class – well it is Wimbledon week: a quintessential event of the UK Calendar: white uniforms, lush green grass, strawberries and cream. [I cannot resist mentioning the general public queuing for tickets while the corporate audience is waved through to their booked seats.]
An event run by the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club which is a private members club!
To have any opinion exposes our prejudices, about men and women and how they behave in groups. The landscape in 2012 is dominated by the individual’s rights and needs. Thinking about groups and stereotypes and how they behave is risky: the ubiquitous final get out clause is released: but everyone is an individual!
But everyone is an individual! – Behaviour in Group
Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2012
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Disclaimer: This weblog content are the views of the writer and for general information only. This article is designed to provoke argument and critique.