Many people who strive to lead organizations and projects often describe themselves as consensus builders. In general, this is a very good thing. In contrast to the boardroom bully, the consensus builder obtains differing thoughts and opinions, plans of actions and concepts of success. He or she listens, collates and aggregates the thoughts of many to help determine the projects that will tend to garner the most support.
Input from your stakeholders and significant leadership is crucial and the act of listening and truly hearing what those are saying is a key to ultimate success. Often the very practice of soliciting that sort of information is as important as the information itself.
But what to do when the consensus building gets in the way of action? There can be only so much discussion, only so much disagreement and ‘what about this’ ’s until it becomes counterproductive and can often verge on the rancorous. This is when good leadership shows itself. It is at this time when a good leader calls a halt to the ongoing attempt to get everyone on board, make a decision and begin to act.
Manner and Tone
Manner and tone of how that executive decision is made is crucial; the better leader accepts and appreciates the input and care of the board and firmly makes the call. That person will explain the path toward that decision, the timeline and outcome anticipated and why that course is the best one. Dissenting voices are noted but are not going to obstruct. The better leader accepts guidance and responsibility for making the call. Credit is shared with all, a proposal or project that prevails against criticism will be stronger for it.
The better choice at the right time is better than the perfect choice at the wrong time.
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