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Is your group really thinking?

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

Collaboration works, until it starts to resemble groupthink. That’s when healthy dissent evaporates, self-defeating tendencies surge and negative emotions corrode the group’s work.

Make sure your team is working more like the Manhattan Project and less like Enron:

Model constructive dissent.
Play devil’s advocate and disagree with a unanimous decision. Benefit: You’ll encourage a reluctant but wise person to speak up.

Have a brainstorming group write ideas on unattributed Post-it notes. Why? No one knows whether an idea came from top brass or a low-level player, so people back ideas with merit regardless of source.

Encourage team members to do self-affirmations. Research by behavioral scientist Tanya Menon shows that simply listing one’s own personal skills and accomplishments before meeting with a group enhances one’s ability to let colleagues shine.

— Adapted from “When Groups Don’t Think,” Jake Mohan, Utne Reader.

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