Exploring Group Shadows of
Here is a checklist of some Teal-group shadows I have observed over the years. A group shadow is a pattern of group interactions (involving some or all the group members) which can be observed to be detrimental to the well-being of the group and to its actions/results/expression of its Evolutionary Purpose.
These are patterns I've seen and experienced in groups nominally or even predominantly operating in Teal/Yellow consciousness. At the end below, I talk briefly about how this list might be USED by a group.
The list is not in any particular order.
"EGO" MEANS "INVALID"
1. Someone comes up with a tension and others assume or discern it is individual, "from ego," or "defensive," instead of actually looking to see whether it is indeed a systemic/group matter/tension. It could be valid and useful for the group to consider EVEN IF the individual is coming from ego-shadow. Both-and, not either-or. By "shooting the messenger" down (into silenced invalidation) without reflecting, potential collective intelligence is lost.
LEFTOVER HABITS AROUND POWER AND DECISIONS
2. Individuals in a self-management environment are often still tethered to old habits of consciousness/behavior, and, for example, seek consensus before acting (Green) or seek permission before acting (Orange.) This becomes a group shadow if others, due to their own individual shadows, don't realize this and call attention to it.
One effect detrimental to the group is that things don't get done even though they might have been good for the group. Also, the self-inhibiting breeds resentment in those who won't act without consensus or permission; that contaminates the relational space and reduces their enthusiasm for contributing to the thriving of the whole group.
UNCLARITY AROUND RESPONSIBILITY
3. A not-fully-mature Green shadow showing up in a Teal-oriented group is that who is accountable/responsible for doing what, is unclear, and no one--for whatever reason--seeks to clarify. Or someone seeks to clarify and others resist and seek to perpetuate the unclarity, because it gives room for their own shadow to play out, such as for example making power moves.
OFFICE POLITICS INSTEAD OF CONSTRUCTIVE ACTION
OFFICE POLITICS INSTEAD OF CONSTRUCTIVE ACTION
4. "Office politics" happens within the group, instead of the Teal group consciousness which would create behaviors showing self-empowerment, compassion, and alignment with Evolutionary Purpose and with good of the whole. People complain or gossip, but don't act to remediate, and no one calls them on it. People play victim to others or to the systems of the group, instead of claiming the self-empowerment which a Teal group offers them, and no one calls them on that.
NOT CLAIMING SELF-EMPOWERMENT
5. A related shadow is that an outside observer can often see relational interplays going on, perhaps even below the level of anyone's awareness, which inhibit the self-empowerment which CAN be claimed in the group without negative consequences. Everyone is acting out of old habits from earlier life, and no one within the group is capable of being fully aware of these. Self-management, self-organization, self-generativity, leadership emergence -- all suffer, making the organization less Teal and less effective.
NOT CHALLENGING SOMEONE VALUABLE
6. Someone who contributes a great deal to the group also has habitual subconscious (or rationalized) behaviors that are detrimental to others' well-being thus reducing their enthusiasm for the group's endeavor. But that person is perceived by several in the group to be unwilling to recognize this detrimental effect. Everyone dances around the elephant in the room, rather than naming and compassionately challenging it. Calling attention to the relational dynamic happening would allow the possibility of the individual/group/system adjusting in a healthier way.
CONTRIBUTION TAKES PRECEDENCE OVER COMPASSION
7. Another group shadow which can show up in Teal is also from lack of enough Green-maturation. In general, I believe that lack of enough Green-maturation turns Teal into a heartless system, this being one instance of how that plays out. Members of a nominally Teal group don't show compassion, and adjust their expectations, and even adjust the group systems, when someone is in a crisis or temporary tough situation in life that reduces their contribution to the group's Evolutionary Purpose. The EP becomes a tyrant, not a way toward a more loving world.
CONTRIBUTION IS ONLY MEASURE OF VALUE
8. A similar group shadow which can show up in Teal from insufficient Green-maturation is around what used to be called "performance evaluations," whatever self-management method is used for those. If degree of contribution to the Evolutionary Purpose of a role or the group is the only criterion, the group will suffer.
There could be a compassionate inquiry into the circumstances, when someone's contribution seems to fall short, with every reasonable attempt to adjust the system so as to optimize the potential contribution of someone. If there is no inquiry and attempt to shift the system, the group as a whole loses collective intelligence that a bit of compassion could have made available.
LACK OF SELF-AWARENESS OF OTHERS' PERCEPTIONS
9. Another common group shadow in Teal is that -- from insufficient time spent maturing through healthy Green -- individuals just don't realize how they are showing up for others. Often this is combined with other dynamics that inhibit compassionate clarity calling attention to the way the person is often perceived. Thus the person doesn't get the necessary feedback that their comments are, for example, so often perceived as snarky and critical, rather than educational and helpful.
EVOLUTIONARY PURPOSE EXCLUDES PLAY AND HUMOR
10. Yet another shadow held over from Orange is "nose to the grindstone." Even an Evolutionary Purpose can become a grindstone, if the Teal values of playfulness, humor, curiosity, co-creativity, collective learning, are not consciously cultivated. Again, anyone in the group could call attention to this, but our old habits magnetize and hypnotize us, so we tend to fall back even after that, and even expect others to be "nose to grindstone."
STATUS CONSIDERATIONS HAVE DETRIMENTAL INFLUENCE
11. Yet another shadow, this one from way down in Beige, is consciousness of "status" differences among individuals, and playing into those, in complex relational space dynamics, all quite subliminal, below awareness. As "higher apes" we have various criteria for quickly assessing whether someone is higher status than us, or lower, and automatically adjusting our behavior accordingly.
This sometimes creates behaviors contrary to the behaviors which a Teal consciousness would produce (deference to perceived-but-not-factual "authority," for example.) But I venture to say this shadow plays out in every group, possibly even in every individual who has not spent sufficient time in Green rooting it out.
HYPOCRISY AND LIP SERVICE ARE ALLOWED TO CONTINUE
12. A group shadow I observed some years ago was a Second-Tier-aspiring group which gave a lot of lip service and preached all that, but the system was set up so that the leader was the only "valid" source of interpretations of the group agreements. That unfortunately combined with the leader's natural power-over mode of relating.
After years of calling attention to discrepancies and hypocrisy, I realized the members of the group were totally comfortable, and didn't want anything to change. They didn't want to remove the "power-over" group dynamic. It played into their own needs just fine. They in fact attempted to neutralize or just ignore, any attempt to clarify the group dynamics. This was a Blue shadow operating in the group via collusion among individual shadows.
TYPOCENTRIC BEHAVIOR RULES
13. Yet another "insufficient Green" group shadow arises when some or most of the group are not healthily aware of their own individual shadow and their own individual "types," and how those show up in our daily behavior, and how they often affect others. This area of self-knowledge, or lack of it, hugely impacts how a group as a whole functions.
Enough self-knowledge enables individuals to spot and either prevent or counteract, their own typological or shadow habits that others typically react negatively to. "Oh, there I go, being the bossy Eight again. Forgive me." It also enables others to compassionately label those behaviors and perhaps humorously call our attention to it: "Yes, boss."
EVOLUTIONARY PURPOSE LEADS TO OVERWHELM AND BURNOUT
14. Evolutionary Purpose can become an excuse for all kinds of dirt and dust accumulating in the relational space of an organization. Insufficient Green-maturation means here that task-orientation of "expressing our Evolutionary Purpose" becomes a slave-driver within and between individuals.
This shows up often as taking on too many projects as individuals or a group, resulting in overwhelm and burnout. It also can show up as not attending to the wellbeing of the group's relational space -- "no time for that" -- or even as devaluing of wellbeing in comparison to "saving the world." Relational space, people's feelings, simply aren't regarded as important in the grand scale of the group's work.
MEMBERS AT EARLIER STAGES ARE DEVALUED
15. Teal/Yellow consciousness, when mature and healthy, makes room for the valued contribution from all previous stages, and the group members whose "center of developmental gravity" is still First Tier. Early Teal/Yellow has a tendency to still be rejecting where it came from. (This is typical in early phase of any stage, and Second Tier is not exempt, I've observed.)
Thus, the group as a whole doesn't really design its systems to accommodate and use the gifts from members who are predominantly in earlier stages. Those folks are marginalized, or looked down on as "LESS valuable." Whatever they say is regarded automatically as less valid and less valuable -- another instance of shooting the messenger.
GROUP SPACE DOESN'T INCLUDE ALL OUR INNER STAGES
16. Another expression of the same shadow is that the group doesn't design its systems to allow the healthy expression, within the group space, of the earlier stages represented in everyone. You would think that would be the first and joyful design task of a Teal group, but it's actually quite rare, in my experience.
There is lip-service to "wholeness," but the systems of the organization contain no spaces for group experiences for example in healthy Beige (a coffee room doesn't do it) or Purple (office parties don't do it.) How do people go about expressing, and using for the Evolutionary Purpose of the organization, their healthy transcended-and-integrated Beige, Purple, Red, Blue, Orange, or Green? That usually doesn't happen by accident in a Teal organization; it needs to be designed in. Group immaturity or group shadow could underlie that omission.
Awareness of group shadow, and willingness to deal with it, helps the group relational space. The enacting and expressing of a group's Evolutionary Purpose takes place IN relational space. So group shadow work allows that space to become increasingly cleaner and clearer, thus more effective in expressing the group's EP.These are merely a few potential group shadows which can show up in a Teal-aspiring group and impede the expression of their shared Evolutionary Purpose. Contemplating this checklist together could offer one way into beginning such shadow work. The group can co-create its own ways to spot other group shadows, and its own ways of helping to "unstick" these group relational-energy patterns.
Unsticking sometimes can require outside assistance because the patterns are often negatively or detrimentally auto-poietic (self-perpetuating, as in the example above,) and RESISTANT to both clarity and change!!
Have you seen these patterns? Can you give examples? What other patterns can you add to the list? Are there remediation processes you've observed to be helpful for one or several of these patterns?
by Rev. Alia Aurami, Ph.D., Head Minister, Amplifying Divine Light in All Church
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