Working on teams and reaching agreement on anything can be a challenge. Team Leaders and Managers set the tone for team based decision making. For decisions to be effective a process must be known and shared. Below is a case study / success story of coaching and consulting with a manager and a team to improve their decision making process and output as a team.
Amida, a director of Corporate Sales that I coached 1 on 1 to enhance managerial-leadership and improve the teams productivity, became so great about being clear about the decision style her team will be using for different issues she makes a chart.
She uses the Selecting a Decision-Making Approach with the group and records each team member’s preferences for that approach to a particular decision item.
Team & Management Problem
Amida started this practice after a number of difficult team meetings in which nothing seemed to be getting done. Finally, her team decided to enlighten her on why things were getting stalled, and told her that she wasn’t listening to them.
Amida was shocked.
She had always prided herself on listening carefully to the evidence provided before making a decision.
The problem was, Amida was making consultative decisions (listening to each argument, then making the decision herself) while the team thought they were making consensus decisions.
As a result, the team was confused about what had been decided vs. what was still under discussion, and they began to get annoyed about what appeared to be Amida’s authoritarian attitude.
Team & Management Intervention
After giving Amida feedback on her decision-making approach, the team went through the checklists for some of their pending and recent decisions.
As it turned out, a consultative style was perfectly appropriate for most decisions Amida was making, and the team was happy to operate that way once the decision-making strategy was clear.
Amida’s approach allowed the team to reach agreement faster on critical decision, and reinforced the importance of allowing time for those decisions for which a true consensus was needed.