What’s Wrong With Cliques

If cliques are damaging to an organization, 
there should be no doubt they are damaging to Blissfield. It’s important to distinguish between a group and a clique. A group is generally composed of individuals that are drawn together by commonalities (normal human behavior), they are a positive experience for members. Cliques assemble for the same reasons but, include a more devious or sinister component, they consider themselves better than anybody else (elitist) and further subscribe to exclusivity.

Our Blissfield clique is even more underhanded than that, being substantially more 
injurious to our community. Our clique – which I’ve tagged the F-group, I’m changing this slightly upon suggestion to F-troop, because it just rolls off the tongue easier. The F-troop has also been centralizing power by strategically positioning their members through elections and appointments in our government for influential purposes and capitalization from that influence.

I’ve witnessed firsthand, as have many in the community that this troop is malicious and vindictive against those who oppose their views or are deemed a threat against their agenda. All others who feel unsafe to speak out in the community, or feel they have a target on their back, are fully aware repercussions are expected from disagreement. Some overt tactics used are ridicule, name calling, demeaning and minimizing others. But, make no mistake there’s also covert (underground), subversive schemes being employed that serve to sabotage non-elitists. You can read about some I’ve experienced throughout my posts, providing other’s examples would simply be putting individuals in harm’s way.

Using tactics to coerce community members into submission, silence and/or compliance is alarming. Operating thusly is evidence the F-troop’s sincerity about the betterment of the community is indeed false – a grand ploy. If you have any doubts, try opposing them. Misconception from all those outsiders is counted on to perpetuate their “good for the community” operating cover. Do not be fooled. Their concern only extends as far as the boundaries of their group. That’s not to say benefits from their self promotional endeavors can’t spill over into the rest of the community, I believe it’s unavoidable. The gangrenous erosion this group causes far overshadows some fleeting, random or short-lived advantage, spilled by wayward precepts. Honestly evaluate this dilemma and consider this gravely important but simple question as you do; if intimidation has to be used, how honorable, just or good is their cause?

If the previous question doesn’t bring you to the truth, consider this – just as the clique ostracize wannabe members, the clique also decides who should get “run out-of-town”. T. Saxton-Jones introduced him/herself to the blog with activity skirting dangerously close to internet harassment. Saxton attempted to post the same lengthy comment over and over again, posting this comment over 20 times as well as sending it a few times as emails. On top of that, he/she also posted 15 other comments filled with foul language and rage – all within a 24 hour period. Saxton repeatedly demanded I leave town. I didn’t detect a desire or capacity for honest and intelligent debate, I saw the quintessential F-trooper. Running people out-of-town (I know it’s happened too many times before) instead of valuing and working with opposing points of view doesn’t sound very grown up or intelligent to me. It smacks of corruption and/or – protection thereof.

However, Saxton should have known I’m not easily intimidated. I have nothing to hide, I have nothing too important they can take away, I don’t break the law, I don’t have a brick and mortar business they can ruin…I have nothing to lose, all of which situate me perfectly to speak out. I wonder why Kay Brown didn’t advise Saxton, she was given this information, I know because I’m the one who told her. I’m also a “buck stops with me” kind of person – not to mention, I also get really irritated when someone tries to manipulate me.

Do you think I’m surprised the clique is outraged by the blog and wants it shut down? I knew going in they would protect what they’ve carefully built. Who knows the extent they’ll try to get that done. As long as the F-troop is destroying the community, this blog will be calling attention to them. In the end I’ve stood for the prosperity of a community, not for the prosperity of a few. Cliques don’t belong in any community; they don’t belong in the workplace or even the classroom. God help the people who have to deal with them.

Clip the Cliques

Cliques are everywhere. You know them; that little group of people who promote themselves and put everyone else down. Cliques in the workplace breed an unhealthy atmosphere that you must avoid at all costs if you want to manage job stress. Focus your attention daily on your job responsibilities. Nail your job. Make that your primary focus and don’t waste time trying to fit into a group. You’re being paid to perform a job. Be friendly and courteous to all, but skip the coffee clique. You’ll be amazed at how much this reduces job stress.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/3633-need-job-stress-management/#ixzz1Cul1uBNV

Leaders Discourage Cliques

My business is built on helping organizations build higher levels of trust. One significant trust buster that is evident, even in the best organizations, is the presence of cliques. These informal groups continuously drain the trust from the larger organization by fostering a culture of exclusivity. Since joining together with like-minded people has been human nature back to the “Clan of the Cave Bear,” how can an organization reduce the negative impact of these insular cells?

It is a function of leadership to set the tone of any culture. If leaders either condone cliques or encourage them by participating in them, the cells will continue to enjoy their exclusivity at the expense of the larger organization. The conundrum is that cliques are highly prized by the people in them. The support structure allows all members to poke fun at others who are outside the fence and create their own set of norms. This builds in a kind of polarization that is as uncomfortable to the outsiders as it is gratifying to the elite.

Read more: http://thetrustambassador.com/2009/12/07/leaders-discourage-cliques/

Power, Politics, And Conflict

Organizational behavior scientists have identified five basic types of power managers and leaders use to influence their subordinates: reward, coercive, legitimate, referent, and expert.

Reward power, which is based on an individual’s expectation of receiving desired outcomes, was found to be a positive force. However, if the members of a group do not believe they will be rewarded for their efforts, the person in a position to offer rewards will not be able to influence the individuals. Similarly, managers who rely on coercive power, which is based on fear, will probably be unable to influence workers, especially group members, for a long period of time.

The other three types of power also have advantages and disadvantages. For instance, legitimate power, which exists as part of a manager’s position in the hierarchy, is often ignored by workers who do not respect the individual filling the role. Referent power, which is based on the manager’s charisma, influences only those individuals or group members who are swayed by the charismatic leader. Finally, expert power, which is power acquired from experience and learning, is a positive force, but only to the degree managers can convince individuals and group members that their leadership skills go beyond expertise alone.

People attempting to exercise power in the organization often resort to political tactics to do so. They blame others for mistakes, form power coalitions, praise co-workers and subordinates when they think it will help them achieve goals and reinforce their images. In short, they use every stratagem possible to win friends and influence people. In the process, however, they often create conflict. This prompted researchers to study conflict and its possible solutions.

Organizational behavior scientists recognize that conflict exists at both the individual and group levels. They have devised a number of ways to deal with it. Among them are mutual problem solving, compromise, and avoidance. Significantly, they discovered that conflict resolutions are most often temporary, and they have looked for ways to make them more permanent. In order to find permanent solutions, they have performed more in-depth studies of organizational structure and processes and how both affect individuals and groups.

Read more: Organizational Behavior – benefits http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/encyclopedia/Oli-Per/Organizational-Behavior.html#ixzz1Cv5aK1s6

Here’s a Permanent Solution

Individuals that are plugged in need to recognize when they are being worked (manipulated) and show intolerance to the perpetrators.

Working for the community means fostering positive relationships with all – with local business owners – with everyone equally, not with partiality for those in a special network while feuding with or condemning others. Community building means building a quality, productive business environment. A friendly, welcoming atmosphere needs to be established for the health and well-being of all residents that live here and encourage aspirations from outsiders to live here.

Take your community back!

Stop electing them into your government. Complain if they get appointed. Do not facilitate selfishness and greed, because when push comes to shove, in the very face of necessity – we have to stand together and depend on each other. Do not wait for zero hour, when we need it most to come to that realization. If you want decency – demand it. Hold the bar steady, let them rise to your standards, don’t lower to theirs.

Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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5 Responses to What’s Wrong With Cliques

  1. Dorothy Steedle says:

    Robin, once again you force me to respond to your post, although I am loath to join this ridiculous fray. However, I believe the people of Blissfield deserve to hear both sides of the network or “clique” theory. (If anyone is interested in reviewing my original post, it can be found under the “New to Blogging” category of this blog.)
    If the characterization you and your citations give to a clique, then, yes, indeed they can be a pernicious and disrupting force in any organization. However, there is no clique, as described by you, in Blissfield. What exists here is a group of interested and dedicated people who are willing to spend time, effort and money, working through Michigan Main Street and the former Friends of Historic Blissfield, to make our community more vital, more eclectic and more appealing.
    Other than the oft-cited and disproved rental rehab grant situation and the accusation of secret and exclusive meetings (which meetings were neither secret nor exclusive) by this Clique, Network, F-group, F-troop (would you please pick one term and stick with it?), what is it that these people have done to merit your vociferous condemnation? What would any of them have to gain by nefarious and covert (to use your term) activities? What are those activities? All activity is directed toward making Blissfield more prosperous and all-encompassing, a great place to live for everybody.
    Don’t be mislead into thinking that T. Saxton-Jones, whoever that may be, is speaking for the “Network.” He/she is a rude and boorish person whose tactics and language would never be employed by the “elitists.” As far as the “clique” wanting to shut down your blog, I don’t think they really care. Most people only read it for entertainment value, just to speculate on how outrageous you will be this time. And as to intimidation, who is intimidating whom? I believe far more individuals are afraid to express their opinions on the blog for fear of your vitriolic, sarcastic and condescending responses than are concerned about the reaction of the Network.
    It’s time to give it a rest, Robin. You said that you have nothing to lose; neither do you have anything to gain by this unflagging campaign against people who only want the best for Blissfield.

    • Robin says:

      That sounds really good Dorothy! It sounds like I was completely wrong about the F-troop. How’s that for sarcasm, I admit to being critical or using sarcasm on occasion but I implore you to copy and paste an instance of vitriol or condescension – Definition:

      snobby and pretentiously kind manner: behavior that implies that somebody is graciously lowering himself or herself to the level of people less important or intelligent.

      Because that’s the very critique I’ve leveled against the clique.

      Dorothy, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt. I’m going to assume you’re a good hearted person who is giving what you can to your community and that you’re not doing it for any selfish gain. I’m going to assume you believe everything you’ve stated here about the F-troop as true. I want you to know one thing before I continue…with all my heart, I want to believe you are that kind of person, more than that, if you are that kind of person – I want you to be infectious.

      At the same time, I’d also have to assume…you are on a “need to know basis” and there’s an even tighter inner circle within the clique. You may have unknowingly aligned yourself with a group that plays malevolent games behind your back, of which you would be doubly betrayed. Surely, you yourself have been burned when work you’ve done for the “betterment of the community” has been thrown by the wayside because it failed to produce a payoff to certain individuals.

      Were you or were you not warned that I was attending my first FoHB meeting?

      • Robin says:

        Okay, so I stopped at the last question so it wouldn’t get lost in my reply – because it was an important one. I was hoping to get it answered, but you were probably pleading the fifth. Anyway, if you are on a need to know basis then you might have not been informed about the shenanigans the elite of the elite were playing on Robin. That makes you a perfect spokeswoman for the network – you know – along with the perpetual little cheerleader you are and all. Although, for the benefit of those that have not been apprised, I’ll write a post about it and lay it all out for you.

        It’s pretty humorous, the clique denies the existence of a clique but it’s all too clear from the rest of the community. Dorothy, the first thing you have to do is admit you have a problem! I’ll see if we have any psychologists around town that have some free time once a week so we can get you guys some support. I’m guessing the second step is to get yourself out of the echo chamber you’re in. Too much of the wrong thinking gets bounced around in there.

        “oft-cited and disproved rental rehab grant situation” Disproved – are you saying there was no rental rehab grant situation? Or, are you saying there was no foul play involved with the rental rehab grants situation? If you’re saying there was no foul play and it’s been proven so, this begs the question, how can foul play be proven when there were no such grants granted? You cannot charge someone with theft if the item in question isn’t missing. That sounds eerily similar to Saxton’s thought process Miss Dorothy!

        Vociferous – good word, wrong application, because my normal speaking voice is louder than my keyboard. Hey Dorothy, do you want to write some upbeat pieces for the blog? Just checking.

  2. Dorothy Steedle says:

    Robin, I have no idea what you’re referring to in the “last question” that I might plead the fifth on. That question was, “Were you or were you not warned that I was attending my first FOHB meeting?” I certainly was not “warned.” What was there to be warned about? The first time I met you was at a FOHB meeting, where you were introduced as a new member and you were working with Kay Brown on some computer input projects. End of story. I didn’t know who you were, nor anything about you other than that you were someone interested in joining FOHB.
    Obviously, we have no opinions, interests or values in common, so further dialogue between us in an effort in futility, However, since you implored me so nicely, I’m going to give you a few examples of your vitriol and condescension.
    For starters, giving me the “benefit of the doubt” of being goodhearted but suggesting that I am so naïve that I can’t see the forest for the trees, that is condescension. Also, referring to me, as you did in this most recent post, as “Miss Dorothy,” is most irritatingly rude. Anytime you respond to anyone as “my friend” in the context you use it is condescending. When you mention actions are “covert (underground),” you insinuate that your readers do not know the meaning of covert. Perhaps this is more patronizing than condescending.
    As far as vitriol is concerned, how about: “perfidious lust” is reference to your “former friend”? By the way, you are you talking to there?
    There are many more instances, but I think you get the point.
    Your comment, “Surely, you yourself have been burned when work you’ve done for the ‘betterment of the community’ has been thrown by the wayside because it failed to produce a payoff to certain individuals,” leaves me even more puzzled. Is that what this is all about? Someone got their feelings hurt because some ideas and/or hard work were not appreciated? That’s the way it is in business, government, and just plain everyday life. Not every idea, even a good idea, is right for the time, place and situation in which it is presented. Much hard work has been done by many people throughout history that could not be used because circumstances weren’t appropriate. Sure, I’ve put effort into projects that didn’t come to fruition, both here and with the many companies, committees and boards with which I have worked in the past, but that’s neither here nor there. That’s reality. It shouldn’t cause bitterness or retaliation.
    As far as me being a cheerleader, I’m not quite that peppy, but I do believe that the people in this town, including the F-troop, do want the best for Blissfield and are willing to work hard to make it happen.
    Vociferous, by the way, refers to being fiercely verbal, verbosity, not just loudness.
    So, this is “Miss Dorothy” signing off. There is no need for us to continue this bantering of words.

    • Robin says:

      “Vociferous” derives from the word Latin “vox,” which means “voice.” But other English words can be used to describe those who compel attention by being loud and insistent. “Vociferous” implies a vehement shouting or calling out, but to convey the insistency of a demand or protest, “clamorous” might be a better choice. You could also use “strident” to suggest harsh and discordant noise in a protest, or “obstreperous” to imply loud, unruly and aggressive resistance to restraint. But someone who is noisy and turbulent due to high spirits rather than dissatisfaction might more aptly be called “boisterous.”


      • Giving you the benefit of the doubt is indeed being gracious and generous.
      • Vitriol means bitter hatred, you can find no evidence of this in my posts or comments.
      • I have not suggested you’re naive but I’ve just been given evidence you are playing naive.
      • The context of using “Miss Dorothy” is an endearing term that also shows respect, it goes back to instructors I’ve had in Cosmetology – they were all addressed with a “Mr” or “Miss” prefacing their first name.
      • When I mentioned actions are “covert (underground), it was used as a double emphasis not condescension.”
      • Cheerleader – definition: 2. uncritical enthusiast: She’s perpetually an uncritical enthusiast for the network.

      “Is that what this is all about? Someone got their feelings hurt” no Dorothy, it’s about purposefully eroding the fabric of a whole community for the exclusive financial and superiority benefits of a few. If you had, or have been reading my posts with a wisp of concern for your community, you wouldn’t have so readily dismissed the problem. Consider halting the rah, rah, sis, boom, bah long enough to hear the truth ringing in your ears.

      It was nice talking to you!

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