Members of groups crave “optimal distinction,” that is, both belonging and being different.
Some people crave belonging more than being different, but all of us have both psychological needs.
We want to be distinct, so we can be useful and special.
We want to belong, so we can survive and be validated.
Basically we’re all kind of like teenagers, no matter how old we get.
Great cultures provide group members with both a sense of belonging and validation of what they or their sub-group can uniquely provide to the group.
But there’s a thin line between sub-groups factions.
Recognizing and praising the differences within our groups can help satisfy the need for distinction.
However, we need to offset that distinction with enough of a shared group mentality, known as “superordinate group mentality.”
The key is to ensure that sub-groups feel like they fully belong, that no sub-group is favored over another, and that the entire “superordinate group” is bonded together.