We humans like to herd up. From the times of cavemen and their clans, to the tribes of native America to the teams and communities of the modern world, we like to group together.
Our modern herds are more sophisticated and our environment more complex than the herds of our ancient ancestors. But we’re still driven by the same mindware programs that our ancestors developed to protect themselves.
Understanding our instinctual mindware programs guides us to better lead, motivate and communicate with our communities. We can also set the stage for efficient communication and collaboration.
So what are the important aspects of the human mind as it relates to our modern social communities? Here are a few tips.
The Herd in the Community
We’ve all seen the herd mentality in groups of humans. One person says something, another agrees and the next thing you know, everyone is following the crowd. Have you ever wondered why that happens? Here’s the scoop on that herd instinct – which is an innate mindware program in all of us.
Our unconscious minds reward us with a pleasure response whenever we agree with the crowd. We literally bliss out in the herd.
That same instinctual mindware also sends an alert response if and when we disagree with the crowd, or begin to start out on our own course. That’s right, we feel downright unsafe if and when we leave the herd.
This wiring comes from back in caveman days. Safety was in the clan. The more humans in the clan the more powerful the clan could be against the threats that were part and parcel of caveman life. Plus, an individual had little chance of survival on their own.
Today, the herd instinct limits innovation and ultimately performance. We’ve all experienced the power of a strong opinion to sway our teams, customer focus groups and more.
We can lead our teams away from the herd and into individual thinking. Here’s how:
Model your behavior to show your teams that it’s a good thing to step away from the herd and demonstrate individuality in thinking and actions. Be the leader who steps away from the herd. That action will begin to shift the program and make it safe and comfortable for others to step away as well.
Visibly reward team members who step away from the herd and into independence. Even if their idea isn’t brilliant, reward the very action of thinking independently. That reward will show others that it’s a safe and good thing to step away.
The herd instinct can also be a powerful tool when we want to lead a cohesive community. The key is to balance the herd instinct and its potential survival mind instincts with the collaborative innovation and new approaches we need to be successful.
photo credit Nationaal Archief