Usually there will be one leader (for example a manager of a supervisor) and his co-workers whom he manages. Often if the manager is left to make the ultimate decision and his team have discussed it and are happy to follow it, there is a consensus which is typically harmonious.
You can also approach decision making democratically whereby everybody is treated as an equal. This is unlike a consensus where people simply agree on a decision with the decision maker, a democracy is where everybody has equal weight in the decision, typically described as ‘government by the people’.
Though democracy is usually beneficial in terms of people feeling valued, there can be some downfalls in that unlike a consensus where a trusted superior sets the rule, if every is being given equal footing – somebody who has a specific skill-set and so should have a bigger input in the final decision; may not be able to express it above the others.
If there is a danger of losing out on valuable input that could move the team in the right direction or conversely too many different opinions is beginning to cause rising tension in the group, sometimes the solution is to limit the number of people who will decide on the result. Instead, perhaps the manager or leader should be the one to have the ultimate say. This is usually called a dictatorship.
This does not involve the expertise of the team. Whilst dictatorship has the benefit of being untainted by group bias, there can be a danger in that the team is solely dependent on the information being provided from one source; what if it is wrong, or misguided?
A perhaps more open way of coming to a decision that not only involves the entire group, but that is also appreciative of a wider input, is group consulting. Consulting as a group is usually where a manager shares his expertise with his team, members of the team share feedback with the manager and taking the feedback into account the manager makes the final decision.
This differs to a dictatorship in that the decision is still based upon the opinions of the team, rather than simply announced to them regardless of their views, but is slightly less passive than consensus where everyone naturally agrees with each other, there might be differences of opinion here but it is more likely you will reach a common ground.
Ultimately, it is always worth any team leader understanding the importance of learning from his team. Differing groups of ideas should be used as an advantage to teach each other.
Sometimes, despite the usefulness of working as a team to reach one, people may not see eye to eye on the final decision. Situations like this should be handled professionally whereby those that oppose should explain their reasons for this without being unnecessarily controversial.
The opposition try to should gather contrary evidence to support the validity of their discontent. Perhaps they have examples of where a similar situation was unsuccessful or if they have compelling concerns about how this decision will affect them personally. It is always important that the arguments against any decision should be made in good faith. The fact is, even some of the biggest decisions in history were opposed by those close to the decision maker. One example is the case of Margaret Thatcher who was ousted by an internal party ballot mainly because of opposition to her policies government taxation, the way she handled the economy and internal divides within the conservative party.
The bottom line is that coming to any decision; especially one that is complex or particularly sensitive with a team, is not something that should be taken lightly. But following the above guide will hopefully provide you a blueprint from which to start!
This article was written by Rachel Glover; a business blogging enthusiast passionate about sharing her knowledge on employee engagement, business incentives and general people skills!