This YouTube video produced by Disney borders on ridiculousness: Darth Vader sits in on a group brainstorming session. As you might imagine, he totally takes over with his obsession on destroying people and planets. Although it’s very tongue in cheek, this video does make the point very clearly:
Strong personalities can totally derail your brainstorming sessions.
They tend to dominate the conversation, drowning out others’ voices and forcing quieter participants into stunned silence. They also tend to be dismissive of the ideas of others – even though they expect their ideas to get a fair hearing. This often happens if you invite a domineering boss to the meeting. Subordinates are fearful of saying anything that will piss off their manager, so they withhold their ideas from the group.
It is the brainstorming facilitator’s responsibility to select the right mix of people for the ideation session and to ensure that strong personalities are either not invited or are kept in check – so they don’t pull a “Darth Vader” on the rest of the members of the group.