Yes, Captain!

I was thinking recently about a piece I read in ‘Yes! 50 Secrets from the Science of Persuasion‘ by Noah Goldstein, Steve Martin and Robert Cialdini.  A great book full of interesting insights and good humour founded on solid ethical research.

In it there is a section on ‘captainitis; the sometimes perilous behaviour people exhibit when they defer blindly to whoever they see as being the ‘the most experienced person in the room‘.

There are many situations where this might occur.  Here are some possible scenarios…

  • business leaders whose decisions aren’t challenged because ‘they’re the boss’
  • new managers that are a little drunk on their new-found power
  • disengaged teams who don’t care any more because no-one listens to their views
  • family businesses where there is excessive deference to the founder

I confess that I’d never heard of ‘captainitis’ before but I have seen the behaviour in action at different levels in different organisations.

Luckily there are many ways to keep captainitis at bay.

shipCreate an open, honest environment where ideas, thoughts and insights can be shared

shipDevelop a support network within the team so everyone feels they are able to contribute

shipEncourage constructive challenge and fresh perspectives


So although we may be at the helm of our ship, it’s best not to let it go to our heads. Challenge and ideas from others definitely help us all stay afloat!


Please leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: