True leadership requires the identification of some problem requiring attention and action, and the promotion of activities to produce a solution.  In basic assumption mentality, however, there is a collusive interdependence between the “leader” (or central person) and the led, whereby the “leader” will be followed only as long as he or she fulfills the basic assumption task of the group. The “leader” (or central person) in a dependency basic assumptions group is restricted to providing for members’ needs to be cared for. The fight/flight basic assumptions group “leader” must identify an enemy either within or outside the group, and lead the attack or flight. In the pairing basic assumptions group the “leader” must foster hope that the future will be better, while preventing actual change taking place.The “leader” who fails to behave in these ways will be ignored, and eventually the group will turn to an alternative “leader” (or central person). Thus the basic assumption “leader” (or central person) is essentially a creation or puppet of the group, who is manipulated to fulfill its wishes and to evade difficult realities.

Perhaps a major problem at Akin Gump was the tendency to recruit work group managers out of the basic assumptions group, and specifically to recruit as managers persons who served as basic assumptions group “leaders” (or central persons) to be work group managers.  You end up with extremely paranoid and narcissistically-disturbed managers.  Typically, the most paranoid person will be recruited to lead a fight/flight basic assumptions group and the most infantile narcissistic person will be recruited to lead a dependency basic assumptions group.  At least that’s what Dr. Kernberg says.

I’m not a management expert.

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