When Consensus Gets in the Way

1024 576 David DeWolf

In my last post, I outlined the power of consensus building. Consensus building is an important tool for making informed decisions and promoting organizational buy-in. Strong consensus builders tend to build strong, motivated, teams.

As with all leadership tools (and most things in life), one size does not fit all situations. Sometimes the unanimity required to attain consensus is impossible to attain as holdouts dig in their heels. Other decisions may be or contain elements that the leader can not compromise.

In these situations, the benefits of reaching consensus are far outweighed by organizational paralysis. Consensus must be balanced with decisive decision-making. Working to achieve consensus in some situations is counterproductive and disingenuous. It can erode credibility.

In these situations, a leader needs to exercise authority and make swift decisions. For some thoughts about how to make strong, deliberate decisions, check out this previous post on making tough decisions.

Finding a healthy balance between consensus building and deliberate decision-making is one key to successful leadership. Exercising one technique over the other can be counterproductive and undermine authority.