Most of these “Leadership Proverbs” I’ve just picked up, absorbed and imbibed by some process of osmosis along the way and don’t know exactly whom they originated from. But when I know I’ll make reference, and when I don’t it’s not that I’m ungrateful or that I want to appear like a genius. It’s genuinely that I can’t remember. So if I’ve flogged something from you let me know and I’ll happily acknowledge it.
Decide How Decisions are Made
How decisions get made is an important part of leading a team. There are basically 3 ways a decision can get made: 1) Majority vote; 2) Leader decides; 3) Consensus. Different situations will call for different processes. But as a general rule, the process that includes more of the team will be better. So in this list they increase in preference with majority vote being least preferred and consensus being most preferred. There are other variations and nuances, of course, but these are the basic 3.
Whatever process you plan to use, make sure you explain it and communicate it clearly.
Majority vote is least likely to get full support from the team, because it will always split the team into winners and losers.
Leader decides has a number of sub-versions. It could be that the leader decides with little or no input from the team. There are times when this is needed, such as when there is little time. But this requires a high level of trust from your team, and even then you wouldn’t want to do it too often. The other main sub-version is leader decides with input from the team. This can work very well so long as everyone has a chance to put forward their case and there is enough time allowed for a sufficient discussion to take place so that people feel they were heard. Again, this requires a fair degree of trust in the leader from the team.
Consensus is often misunderstood. This doesn’t mean everyone unanimously agrees, necessarily. It means that everyone is sufficiently convinced that the decision is decent and are happy to get 100% behind it as the way forward and do everything they can to make it work.
And in all of the options, for the decision-making process to work the key factor you need to establish is what happens once the decision is made. People have to be agreed that once the decision is made discussion and dissenting is over. The team must agree to do everything they can to make the decision work with the kind of energy they would have if it’d been their own idea. And they agree to publically defend the decision against critics. The team doesn’t need to agree that the decision is the best decision, but they need to agree to implement the decision with everything they’ve got once the decision is made. Discussion and disagreement is fine as the decision is being made. In fact, it’s necessary to refine decisions to be the best they can be and move as close to win-win as possible. But once the decision is made the team needs to agree to cease discussion and disagreement and begin deployment and defence.