Episode 11: Why You Don’t Want Consensus

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Too often, a consensus is seen as a golden standard for healthy teams. In reality, however, it’s the opposite. You want disagreement. You want dissent. Listen to find out why. 

In this episode you’ll hear:

  • The sign of a healthy team
  • Why do you want disagreement on your team?
  • You want an agreement with action, not an agreement with the mind
  • Sign that people do not feel safe enough to speak up
  • Make it a norm for people to disagree

Full Episode Transcript

[00:20]

The Sign of a Healthy Team

Sometimes people think that consensus is the golden standard of teams when everyone’s getting along, when no one’s arguing, when everybody has their beautiful smiles and just nods and everybody’s just plotting forward to whatever’s presented. It’s a beautiful thing.

But the thing is, that’s not true because the truth is the sign of a healthy team is not that they are always in agreement. A true sign is that they feel safe enough to disagree with one another.

[00:50]

They feel safe enough to bring up issues. They feel safe enough to argue different viewpoints or different ideas, point out pitfalls, or even disagree directly with the boss or whoever may be presenting that idea. That shows a sense of safety and that shows a sense of a healthier team. That is what you want.

Why Do You Want Disagreement on Your Team?

[01:12]

You want disagreement on your team. When you don’t have people who disagree, when nobody feels safe enough to bring up issues, you can pursue an idea that could be deadly for your team or your company because everyone’s afraid to speak up.

You want people to disagree. When you have that disagreement, you have new ideas you may not have thought of. You see potential pitfalls and potential issues that may happen, and it can save you a lot of time.

[01:38]

It can save you a lot of money and other things that could happen because you didn’t know something because no one was willing to speak up.

You want people to disagree. You want people to feel safe enough to have a different viewpoint. Even when it comes to the end, when the decision is made, your goal is not to have everyone in 100% agreement mentally.

 You Want an Agreement with Action, Not an Agreement with the Mind

[02:01]

It’s okay if some people still think that’s not the best idea. Your goal is depending on the situation, to have different inputs, to have different discussions about it, disagreements, and so on. But once it’s decided, then everybody takes action toward whatever’s decided.

[02:18]

When it was discussed, people put whatever viewpoint that they believed out there, they discussed it, but once it’s finally decided, everyone’s then on board with that decision.

They may not believe, oh, that’s the best decision in their mind, but because that’s what the team or the leader decided, that’s the direction they then are on course with. That’s the direction they pursue. They take action toward it.

You want an agreement with action, not an agreement with the mind. When you hold out for those few people who disagree, when you try to make sure everyone’s in agreement, you end up giving those people too much power.

Sign that People Do Not Feel Safe Enough to Speak Up

[02:54]

So, you want disagreement with your team. It’s a good thing. The thing is, if no one is disagreeing with you as a leader, if no one is giving other viewpoints, that’s a bad sign. It’s a sign that people do not feel safe enough to speak up, and then it becomes your job to help them feel safe enough to speak up.

[03:15]

You should be one who, when people offer feedback or criticism or a disagreement with your ideas, you welcome it instead of getting defensive and arguing about it. It starts with you as the leader.

During meetings, you may need to pull disagreements from people. You may present an idea or somebody else may present an idea, and then you may say, okay, how could this go wrong?

What’s a different viewpoint? I could be wrong about this. What’s another idea that you think might work? Or what is something that could go wrong with this idea?

Make it a Norm for People to Disagree

[03:47]

Whatever it may be. Ask people. You could even have someone play the position, their job, and their role in that meeting or that discussion is to disagree and point out potential pitfalls. Or you could have people argue to different sides, whatever it may be you want it to become a norm for people to disagree.

You want it to be a norm for people to offer different viewpoints, but then once it’s decided, everyone takes action toward it.

I hope this helps. I’ll see you next time.

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of No More Bad Leaders. If this episode meant something to you, I would be honored if you share it with someone who would benefit from it. You can find more episodes here.

If you have any comments, questions, or inquiries, feel free to contact me.

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