The conflict we discussed in earlier post often comes up in discussion of options and the decision making process for teams. Without airing their opinions in passionate and open debate, team members will not buy in and commit to decisions, though they may feign agreement. Healthy conflict sets the stage for commitment because people will have had the opportunity to share ideas, thoughts, and be heard.
Lots of team-building programs emphasis consensus in decision making. Consensus is good as it builds commitment, but it is not always possible and certainly not a fast process. It’s important to understand that commitment does not equal consensus…people can disagree but, having had healthy conflict, will have had the opportunity to share their opinions. Cohesive teams understand that they must be able to commit even when the outcome is uncertain and not everyone initially agrees. With this understanding, all team members are more willing to commit to the team’s decisions.
Working through commitment requires not only the ability to make wise and discerning results focused decisions. It requires setting up front, team norms or standards of behavior. These norms can be set around “how we communicate”, meeting management, protocol for reaching out to team members that report to another leader and more. They will allow us to set a foundation for “how we do things around here”, eliminating conflict and confusion later on.
Next, we will look at why accountability is a layer in The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team model.