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The Power of Amplifying Others’ Ideas in Group Settings

Not all workers receive the recognition and status they deserve for their ideas and contributions to group discussions. Research demonstrates that ideas can be co-opted, misattributed, or simply not considered. In a series of studies I conducted with Kristin Bain, Tamar Kreps, and Elizabeth Tenney, we found a simple, practical solution to this dilemma: amplification. When a team member voices an idea, another team member can amplify the idea, drawing attention to it by saying something like, "Jamie just said X. I like that idea. I think we should consider it."

From the Research: How Does Amplification Help?

When team members amplify one another, they boost the status of the person they amplify, meaning that the person is seen as a more valuable member of the group. Interestingly, we also found that the amplifier receives a status boost as well. This means that team members don’t have to choose between asserting their own perspectives and amplifying their colleagues’: they can amplify their peers without lowering their own standing in the group. Furthermore, ideas that were amplified were rated as higher quality than the exact same ideas that were not amplified. Finally, we found that gender did not interact with amplification, meaning that amplification was effective regardless of the gender composition of the amplifier and the recipient.

You can amplify colleagues at work by drawing attention to their valuable, but potentially overlooked, contributions. Doing this can both boost your status in the group and ensure everyone’s contributions are fully considered.

How can you apply these findings on amplification to your work team?

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