Creating an opening for contrary opinions

Because I can be quite intimidating on first encounter — I’m 6’4″ and err…250 lbs. — there are times when I get little feedback. People aren’t willing to speak up for fear of provoking the bear.

Quick tip I was given to get around this: explicitly seek out a colleague who will challenge me in such situations. It usually takes some time after taking over an organization or program, but I find someone with credibility and ability to do so. This approach makes it clear, in a concrete and visible way, that I value and reward contrary opinions.

And that I don’t bite or maul.

Adapted from a comment on a cross-post to LinkedIn by Diana Jensen on “Sparring: Why You Should Love Critics“.


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