If you’re embarking on becoming a leader in your community or organization, you should know that biologically people are conformers. We like to be liked, whether that’s by a group of our peers or folks we perceive to be like us. Here Michael Taft examines some ways to understand our need to connect with others, allowing us the choice to resist conformity when necessary.
As a society, we Westerners exalt individualism and self-reliance, and yet our biology moves us in other directions. Humans evolved as social animals, and we posses a number of behaviors that motivate us towards group conformity. The feeling of wanting friends, of desiring a peer group and of needing to feel like we are valuable members of that group is something we all can directly relate to, and we usually experience those feelings as a positive thing. Yet there is a bit of a dark side to our social nature that we might not notice, particularly because so much of its action goes on underneath the level of conscious awareness.
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