61 min
By: ENC Leaders

Episode 27: Tensions: Getting Consensus and Making Decision

A big part of being a leader is making decisions. But making decisions is not as easy as it may seem because it requires discernment and wisdom. In this podcast, let’s look at one of the classic tensions in leadership: getting consensus from your team and making the decision on your own.

Play on:

1:00 We are in the best place to face tensions in leadership when we are secured before God, when we are in a non-anxious place, or when we are not driven by proving ourselves or getting mad at other people. 

3:54 Our tension for today is a classic leadership tension: Do I decide on things on my own? (quickly? is this my decision?) Or do I need to get the consensus of my team? (should I go around and get other people’s thoughts on it as well?)

10:01 Let’s talk about the pros and cons. When we talk about consensus, that’s getting the agreement or the wisdom, hinihingi mo yung opinyon ng team mo, “ano ba yung gusto natin dito?” Benefits of this includes wisdom. You’ll see perspectives that you didn’t see before. Another benefit is agreement, though not always. And with agreement is the benefit of “buy in.” On the other hand, the benefit of deciding on your own is speed — you don’t waste time beating around the bush, and being able to make the right decision even if it is unpopular. The hard part about consensus is it can give you uninspired, middle, or average answers. 

11:31 Kriscel: For getting consensus, particularly when you are working with volunteers and students, and you get their opinion and buy in… you find that they are more excited to do whatever you have talked about.

12:55 Jello: Sometimes it’s worth it to take time discussing… it can empower the team to make decisions… It takes trust and patience to empower the team and lead them towards the same direction… There’s definitely a place for discussion pero kailangan ng discernment when to facilitate conflict and discussion for the sake of commitment and accountability…  

14:22 Ptr Joe: (Sharing stories as examples of deciding on your own and getting consensus) That’s the price of leadership, that you have to be the one to pull the trigger, whether it’s your idea or not.

21:01 Jello: Sometimes there are just times that I’m not interested to weigh in, “bahala na kayo dyan”… but only to find out that afterwards I would have to comment kasi hindi ako nag decide or hindi ako nag weigh in during the discussion tapos eventually nag fail or meron pala akong “bakit ganito yung itsura?” Sa simula pa lang pwedeng nagbigay na ko ng feedback. Katamaran — the laziness of the leader. 

21:57 Ptr Joe: And what a way to let your team down. They worked so hard but because you didn’t lean in to the decision, their hard work gets wasted. 

22:07 Kriscel: (Relating to Jello’s story) I’m assessing myself, what are the reasons why sometimes I don’t like making decisions? I think number one is that I don’t want accountability. I don’t want to be the one blamed when something goes wrong… I realized that’s my primary reason, I just don’t want to be accountable when something goes wrong which is a heart issue, a pride issue… So, I guess it’s good to see it in yourself so that you can really see it as well with the people you are empowering to lead. 

25:10 Wrong reasons for getting consensus: 

  1. When it’s already an excuse for inaction (when you’re just being lazy and not doing anything).
  2. When it’s from a desire to be liked or to please the members of the team. 
  3. When one is afraid to be the unpopular leader. 

29:26 Kriscel: (Commenting on the number one reason) Especially when ang dami mong kailangang pag-isipan, so ang tendency mo feeling mo empowering ka “Kayo na mag decide.” but at the end of the day you just don’t want to add it into your plate… If you want to be empowering, do it for the sake of doing it and not because you want to disguise what you’re doing and as an excuse for inaction.

30:22 Jello: I agree with these wrong reasons Ptr. Joe. And sobrang nakakalungkot kasi these things are actually damaging to people within the team. I think this is one of the most selfish things that a leader can do to preserve one’s self or to protect one’s own position or self image or para lang magkaroon ng surface harmony. In the end it will just do more harm than good… 

36:44 Ptr Joe: Honestly, leaders, we think that failing could be the worst thing that could happen. It might actually be a great thing if you take responsibility. It could build your team up in the process. 

37:02 Rights reasons for consensus:

  1. To empower the team to make decisions and to make them confident with their decisions. 
  2. To unify the team towards a certain goal.
  3. To increase ownership and accountability among the team. 

41:05 Wrong reasons for making decisions on your own:

  1. When you don’t trust your team.
  2. When you’re impatient.
  3. When you already know what they’re gonna want but you’re gonna force your own way also.

43:00 Kriscel: I want to add to the wrong reasons, especially for new leaders or new people in the team, is yung meron silang gustong patunayan… Wanting to make a mark. It comes from a place of insecurity… Minsan naman sobrang yabang that you have the best idea… 

49:00 Ptr Joe: Tip for young leaders, something that my dad told me, he said whenever you have a leadership transition and you’re coming in, change as little as possible. Try to change as little as possible because your simple presence is enough of a change already for the rest of the team to get accustomed to… If you’re coming from a transition, you come in and you’re gentle, you’re kind and you’re willing to listen and you change simply by being there, beginning with soft disciplines, they become more at ease. 

52:06 Kriscel: For those who are older already as leaders, it can show up in both getting consensus and solo decisions, sometimes we become highly critical with younger (newer) ideas… I think I heard it somewhere that we have to be thankful that the current generation doesn’t have to face the same hardships that we’ve been through… For us older, what we can bring to the table is wisdom, we can share old ideas but not railroad them to think the same way you do… 

54:18 Jello: About getting consensus and making solo decisions, there’s a place for both. As a leader, you have to carefully discern when to use which tactic…  

55:43 Ptr Joe: Some tips…

  1. Allot the right amount of time for making decisions. 
  2. Figure out whose voices are more important to make that decision. 
  3. Get better at framing the decision. 

Processing Questions:

  1. Think of one failed leadership decision you’ve made in the past using either getting consensus or making a solo decision. What could you have done better?

2. What are the usual reasons that hinder you in holding the tension of getting consensus and making the decision on your own? What can you do to avoid these hindrances?

Find the right resource for you