When you’re managing a team, you may find your discussions consistently being dominated by your most outspoken employee, or even yourself, with your employees eagerly agreeing with all of your conclusions.
This, of course, is not the most productive scenario.
Performance coach Tony Robbins recently visited Business Insider’s New York office for a Facebook Live Q&A, and he addressed this particular problem. A viewer asked, “How can I turn my team from followers into collaborators?”
“You have to make the environment safe,” Robbins replied. “I know that sounds corny as sh–, but people have to feel like they can share ideas and the ideas aren’t going to be attacked and destroyed.”
Robbins is best known for his bestselling books and seminars, but in addition to running his own companies, he’s personally coached executives like Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff.
“Most great creativity comes out of brainstorming all kinds of ideas and in all our environments and all of our companies, we have a simple rule: In the brainstorming stage: you can’t make any negative comments,” Robbins said.
“There are no bad ideas,” he said. “Because a bad idea can often trigger you to think of something that is actually a good idea. The secret is not to stop the flow and just get everything out as fast as you can.”
Teams comprising followers rather than collaborators are ones where employees are afraid of rejection, of hurting their standing within their company. It’s the manager’s responsibility, Robbins explained, to explicitly state that self-censorship in creative discussions will only limit their impact. It’s also up to the manager to keep the more headstrong members of the group from interrupting their colleagues or crushing their ideas as soon as they’re presented.
“If you show people that they’re heard, that their ideas get implemented, if it’s safe, you usually can get a much higher level of participation than most companies do,” Robbins said.
You can watch the full Q&A below.
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