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A "devil's advocate" is someone who assumes the role of critic. Managers often assign the role of devil's advocate to someone to make sure ideas or assumptions are valid and that alternatives are realistic. The devil's advocate
technique gets its name from a traditional practice within the Roman Catholic Church. Before an individual could be elevated to sainthood, the College of Cardinals felt that it was critical to ensure that the person's record was
spotless. As such, one or more Cardinals were assigned the role of critic or devil's advocate to carefully scrutinize the person to uncover and air all possible concerns and objections to the person being canonized. Today,
managers using this technique can get employees to systematically defend ideas using relevant facts rather than relying on personal bias or preference.
1. Managers make poor decisions when they fail to assign someone the role of devil's advocate
2. Mistakes can be avoided by assigning a devil's advocate
3. The best devil's advocates are those employees reporting directly to the manager

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