You’ve probably met at least one of these people in your life. You know, those people who have to bring up the ‘other side’ in every discussion, and have to have a contrary opinion to everyone else. Before the mere thought of these devil’s advocates makes you grit your teeth, think a bit more objectively. They can actually be very useful in a business setting, as long as they present their viewpoint in a constructive way. You need to alter your talent acquisition strategy to hire such people and get new perspectives on things.
Hire one of these devil’s advocates on your team, and you’ll find yourself getting clear, unfiltered feedback on a lot of things. Unfortunately, corporate culture has created an environment where you’ll be surrounded by yes people, who will agree with everything you say, even if they doubt its viability. Therefore, having someone from the other end of the spectrum can be quite helpful. Devil’s advocates can contribute extensively to your team dynamics in the following ways.
An Honest Sounding Board for Ideas
You cannot create ideas and implement them in an echo chamber. If you do, you’ll miss out on a lot of blind spots and maybe push something ineffective and non-viable. Devil’s advocate on your team, however, will help you trim your idea, and get rid of its inefficiencies.
If they’re constructive, they’ll also let you know how you can reorient your idea in such a way that it will work. Remember that everything is a team effort, and you should consider opposing feedback in order to come to a reasonable compromise that will work for the organization.
Shoots Down Nonviable ideas
If you have a nonviable idea and your team just agrees with you about it, then you won’t be able to see its negative aspects. You’ll just focus your team efforts on implementing that idea. In the end, if it doesn’t work out, it’ll be a huge waste of time and resources.
You need someone who’ll shoot down such an idea before it can even start to be implemented. Listen to their point of view, and see what reasons they have to be against the idea.
Offers a Different Perspective
You can always do with a fresh perspective on things. Understandably, you can tend to think of the same sort of ideas if there is the only agreement and no back-and-forth discussion. Therefore, most business leaders recommend hiring people who they feel are smarter than you in some ways.
These people will give you a fresh take on things, and help you get refreshingly new sorts of ideas. New perspectives are essential for both your personal and professional growth, so do welcome them.
Identifies Weak Spots
Often, when you have a team that’s working relatively fine, you don’t really pay attention to the weak spots. This can lead to complacency and even negligence in some tasks. A devil’s advocate will point out these weak links and will help you identify how to do better.
Once you identify and deal with these weak spots, you can repair them, and strengthen your team. Therefore, you should listen to the devil’s advocate on your team to improve and elevate its workings.
Reorients Inefficient Processes
You’ll definitely find out if any of your team processes are inefficient if you hire a devil’s advocate. They’ll let you know about it the first chance they get, and you should take that chance to improve those processes. For example, if you have a bunch of extra forms and sheets to track daily tasks in addition to task-tracking software, you’re just wasting everyone’s time.
Your devil’s advocate will help you reorient such processes by pointing out the inefficiencies. When your team is functioning more efficiently, you’ll see the positive results rolling in!
Prevents Failure & Losses
If you have yes people on your team from top to bottom, there will be one to help prevent failures and losses. If everyone just agrees to incompletely form ideas and presents them as the best thing ever, the end results can be disastrous. They can cause major losses to the business.
Therefore, you need a devil’s advocate to prevent such failures. They will identify the problem points in these ideas from the get-go and will make you aware of the possible consequences. This will save you from many awkward situations and even financial bankruptcy, so do listen to them.
Done in the right way, this contrariness can actually push innovation in your business. When everything you say generates some sort of back-and-forth discussion, it pushes innovation. You may get new ideas, or alter existing ones for the better. This leads to more creativity and freedom, which has a better end result for the business.
Therefore, a devil’s advocate is a great asset to have on your team. Just make sure you hire one who has constructive feedback to give, and you should be open to what they have to say.