I don’t know about you, but I prefer to be around people that agree with me, that share my viewpoint, and that make me comfortable. The conversations are easier, there is minimal conflict and tension, and it just makes me happier. I know that I am right most of the time, so why waste time with those who obviously don’t understand and disagree with me. Right?
The problem is, what I want is not what I need. While that is true as an individual, it is also true for leaders of organizations. We have a tendency to seek out affirmation of our ideas and not seek out dissent. However, dissent is exactly what we need – individually and corporately. We need people who have the courage to challenge our ideas, to shoot holes in them, to create friction and sparks. This is the only way that ideas will become better. This is the only way bad ideas will die a timely death.
As a leader, often times people will avoid disagreeing with you, they will avoid criticizing your ideas and will be more concerned with earning your favor – especially if you quash dissent. You have to set the tone for your team so that they know that not only is it safe to challenge your ideas, it is actually expected. Because you know that you need their dissent to develop the best ideas.
Seek dissent, encourage creative friction and sparks within your team as you wrestle together to find the best solution to your challenges.