JS Tip 480: Encouraging Dissent in Decision-making

From the Leadership Workshops: Encouraging Dissent in Decision-making

Last week, we talked about the value of dissent in decision-making.

This week, we’ll talk about encouraging that dissent. Encouraging different views. 

Five suggestions: 


  • Ask for criticism. Ask for feedback. “What’s wrong with this plan?” “What haven’t we addressed?” “Please. I want your contrary ideas.”  


  • Ask follow-up questions. “Good comment. Help me: Why do you feel that way?” “Keep going. I’m listening.” Don’t stop until you understand the ideas and the reasons.  


  • Ask for solutions. Contrary opinions are good. Contrary solutions are great. “How can we fix this?” “What would you suggest we do?” 



  • Listen. Pay attention to what’s being said. Listen with your whole body. Make eye contact. Nod. Make notes. Capture what’s being said. Give feedback: “If I understand you correctly, you’re saying [what you think she said, in your own words]. Right? Pretty close?”   



  • Express gratitude for the dissent. “Leah, this was good. This was honest. Thank you.” This sends a message to everyone in the group: You want their ideas.  


Decisions will improve. Morale will grow.

And it’s the right thing to do.  

Hey. We love this stuff.


Mark Brooks