“Shouldn’t I always work toward consensus decisions in my team?” asked several clients recently.
Here are five different processes for reaching good decisions:
- Leader makes the decision independent of the team.
- Leader consults the team for input but reserves the right to make the final decision
- Leader delegates the decision to the team (which may or may not include the leader participating). In this case there are two options:
- Unanimous decision
- Majority rules
There are times when you have your opinion so firmly fixed in your mind, you have actually made a decision but aren’t owning it as such. So you may go into a meeting posing a question or choice as if you want the team to contribute ideas but really you only want confirmation of your opinion. Then you may work to convince until you tire everyone out.
Better to be honest and say “Here’s my decision, and here’s why I made it.”
Then there are the times when you have an opinion but you’re uncertain, concerned you haven’t considered all the factors, so be honest about that as well. “It’s my decision but I want to hear your take on it.” Then the team can contribute varying data and perspectives for you to consider before you decide. A straw poll could be useful here.
If you’re going to delegate the decision, be sure you can live with a decision you may not have chosen, or may not like. Don’t take the choice back once you’ve delegated it.
If you truly want the team to make the decision, figure out whether unanimity is important or will majority rules.
What decisions are you making this week? Which process is appropriate?