My employees are all introverts and don’t want to hurt each other’s feelings. This means that I’m the only one who talks at our meetings. They don’t bring up issues when they’re in a group and they won’t disagree with anything. After the meetings they tell me individually what they really think. How do I get them to speak up at the meetings?
I know you want to tear your hair out when your group acts like they are in Church instead of at a meeting. If it’s any consolation, in every organization there is the official meeting where people go through the motions, and then there is the unofficial meeting-after-the meeting where people share what they really think. Unfortunately, this side meeting happens in places like the staff room or parking lot or at home or via text where your introverts feel more comfortable. Scolding introverts won’t work, but you can encourage them by changing how you structure your meetings to make them more experiential. Stop asking, “Hey anyone got any ideas?” type questions and instead ask folks to do assignments. Give out notepads and ask them to write down two or three responses. Then pass the ideas along to the person on their right, who will add their thoughts about the ideas. Or you can break the group into pairs who have to respond to a question. Or you can have people fishbone or draw their ideas/thoughts/opinions. Create games and give small rewards for participation.