Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

There can be no team commitment without a dialogue that captures every team member’s opinion. And without commitment, there can be no shared ownership of a decision, and no shared accountability

As a leader, you may believe that you already know the best way forward. You may be reluctant to open a discussion which could generate information that is inconsistent with your preconceived conclusions. You might even feel that your ideas are threatened by such a dialogue. 

But the best decisions emerge by first acknowledging that what you don’t know is far greater than what you do. So, your objective for opening a team conversation about a pending decision is not to convince the others that you are right, but to discover what more should be known before the decision is made. Could vital information be missed by not hearing all perspectives? 

Providing an opportunity for emotions to be vented and conflicting opinions to be shared enables the exploration of multiple perspectives, which is how we learn. Reaching commitment requires that you be as eager to listen to other ideas as you are to promote your own. Seek to gain as great an understanding as possible about competing ideas. Encourage all to share by asking questions rather than making statements. Remain calm, reasonable and respectful, and expect the same from others, but appreciate that often expressions of emotion precede reasoned dialogue. 

Productive conflict discussions are efficient time investments. Issues are typically discussed and resolved more quickly and thoroughly, avoiding the revisiting of these same concerns again and again without resolution. Without this interchange, you may find that consensus is achieved but not commitment. 

How consistently does your team commit to a decision?

How might encouraging productive conflict discussions strengthen your team’s commitments?