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Insights: How to Foster Brainstorming and Positive Ideas at Work

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Ask the Expert! Through WISE Insights,Connect with knowledgeable experts to receive honest and thoughtful answers to your career-related questions, or read about challenges your peers are facing.

Question

Submitted by: WISE San Francisco member | 15+ years professional experience

If you have one naysayer in your office that squashes all new ideas, what is the best way to get this person on board in advance of spreading negative feedback? What suggestions do you have on encouraging brainstorming in the office?

Answer

There's always one — and they're trying to tell us something needs our attention to reach consensus and progress. (If it's the boss, that's another discussion.)

If it's a colleague, or someone you supervise, take them aside ahead of the meeting. Ask them what their opinion or concerns are about the project/problem and offer to address them during the meeting. Give them credit in front of the group, but also give everyone a chance to voice their opinion and model mutual respect.

It's always a good idea to have agendas and a time limit, and then sum up agreements and next steps. If things don't improve, confront the behavior and communication, not the person. As far as the flow and momentum of the group as a whole, continue all activities and maintain the group's goals.

Lauren Gordon

About Lauren Gordon

Lauren Gordon, Career Counselor at Career Transition for Dancers, provides counseling, group programs, seminars and training. A psychotherapist, EAP consultant and career counselor in private practice in New York City, Lauren serves the arts, sports and other communities. She is on the program committee of Career Development Specialists Network and has written about career transition, including a chapter on athlete career transitions in "Applying Sport Psychology."

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