Q & A: How can I build consensus in my small business team?

A long email arrived over the weekend detailing the problem of building consensus about tasks and procedures in a small business employing 11 people. This problem may be more widespread than one thinks, and it has to be said it is a management problem.

This business owner was really concerned about the “destructive” effect of not building consensus in his organisation. The question I asked him in an email was “Why do you want to build consensus so desperately?” His answer was to make things happen more smoothly in his business and with less stress.

The truth is there is no need for consensus on each issue, what is really important is that things get done and someone has to make a decision how and when they get done – to put it bluntly – consensus is a nice thing to have, but not necessary. A company is not a democracy, so decisions are made from the top down.

This may sound harsh, but it is the only way to operate. I will listen to anyone in my team if we discuss issues, that is important, to get anyone heard and involved in the process, whatever that may be. I would be lying, if I would tell you I had not learned a lot this way, and that I have not changed my mind more than once due to good advice I received from my members of my team. At the end of the day though I make the decisionsthe bug stops with me – or in this case you.

My team and I have an understanding, I will listen to all their concerns and suggestions, and my team accepts that in the end it is my decisions.

Running a company, however small or big, is about leadership, not consensus. ST.

Disclaimer: As with any of my readers questions, I do not have all the answers and here on my blog I can only give you some ideas, since I know very little about your small business. If any of you can add anything here do so for the benefit of my reader, who asked the question and everybody else, leave a comment below – I’d be most grateful.

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