When a team feels connected and safe, they are more likely to speak up. The foundation of teamwork is that the fusion of many perspectives, insights and talents is better than one person thinking alone. With this philosophy in mind, it’s very likely that there will be divergent perspectives and insights that emerge from across the team. How do you create a context in which people feel that they can share what might be perceived as oppositional insights, without being shut down?
The ability to speak up was identified as a core component for helping teams excel by Amy Edmonson from Harvard. I regularly recommend her 2011 book on Teaming to Organizations, and she has recently followed up with a new book called The Fearless Organization. Take a look at this article.
From large to small invitations there can be many different ways we foster conversation across a team. This might include:
- Dedicating time to brainstorming solutions/perspectives and alternatives to your most pressing opportunities and /or challenges. In the truest sense of brainstorming, we are welcoming ALL different ideas without shutting them down.
- Ensuring that all voices are being heard. This can be done through participatory facilitation techniques. Rather than just going around a table to verbally share ideas, consider giving everyone a set of index cards or post it notes to share their top ideas. Gather these and post them or go through them one at a time.
- Talk about why it’s important to bring alternative perspectives to the table.
- Watch your language – how is language shaping an “invitation” to connect and collaborate. Is more ME/YOU language being used or WE?
What other barriers are being created around inviting everyone’s voice to the table?
For more on this topic check out Glenn Llopis’ article from Forbes.
You might also be interested in these articles as well:
All the best,
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