You need to build consensus among your employees when you need them to agree on a business issue or solve a business problem. When trying to build consensus among your employees, remember that it doesn’t mean stifling viewpoints, initiatives, or alternative solutions. Your team members may have very different feelings about an issue, but you can get everyone’s genuine support with a little effort.
- Define Goals – Are you trying to develop a new product? Are you designing a marketing campaign? Make sure everyone understands the goals.
- Choose Your Team – Identify the people that are decision makers, but also consider inviting those who may be impacted by the goal and might have some insight on the overall project.
- Ground Rules – Make sure everyone knows you value their input and that you will not tolerate personal attack.
- Test the Water – Understand far apart are views and attitudes are in the different members of the team. You will need more time to reach a consensus if they are polar opposites.
- Discard Assumptions – Find out why someone is opposed to, or in favor of, a position. People may have an incorrect assumptions, so ask questions to help clarify and explain viewpoints.
- Encourage Reasoning – You don’t want people simply to agree or disagree with your position. Make sure you ask questions that lead people through logical steps of the question, helping to lead them to clear facts and a reasonable conclusion.
- Manage Emotions – Don’t let what people say or do cause you to lose control of you emotions. If emotions are running high just take a short break and meet individually with the team members who are pushing your buttons or are locking horns with each other.
- Build Consensus – If your team truly cannot reach a consensus, go with the majority opinion. You job is to get answers, and a majority decision is better than no clear decision.