Front-Line Management 1010: Outgroups: Who’s Not Following You?

Outgroups can form based on a social, political, or ethical position or because of Social Identity Theory (SIT), which happens when individuals can’t identify with the beliefs, norms, and values of the primary group members or leader and feel they are being excluded.

Nearly a third of employees don’t trust their employers, meaning there’s a good chance they may not be following the instructions you carefully spent hours crafting. You told them what needed to be done and made sure they understood. So why can’t they just do what you say?

There’s a chance they could be in an outgroup—potentially for a social, political, or ethical position or because of Social Identity Theory (SIT), which happens when individuals can’t identify with the beliefs, norms, and values of the primary group members or leader and feel they are being excluded.

If you find you have people in this category, try the following:

  • Listen! Sometimes they just need a voice. Ask them and listen.
  • Show empathy. You may not understand their position because you’ve never been there, but seek to understand their viewpoint.
  • Create special relationships. Meet for lunch, have a one-on-one conversation. Find out what makes their viewpoints unique and how you or your team can benefit from them.
  • Give then a voice and empower them. Give them a chance to share their opinion—and accept that it may be different from yours.
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