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Commitment vs Consensus: Which Is Better For Teamwork?The Third of the Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team – Commitment or Consensus? If you could only choose one for your team, which would it be?

Like most people, you might first pick consensus. After all, a team in agreement is a team that’s less political, more successful and more growth-oriented, but this is entirely untrue. With team members who truly trust one another (first of five behaviors), conflict fosters creativity and problem-solving (second of five behaviors). Although consensus is likely to result in everyone smiling on the outside, it doesn’t actually mean that everyone is agrees with the plan of action.

To really have team members personally committed to developing solutions and achieving goals, you need commitment.
How Commitment Helps Teams – Commitment to a decision is more than just acknowledging one’s agreement – it’s a complete buy-in. To be truly committed to a plan, team members must have clarity about what the plan is and why it’s the smartest and best move. To acquire clarity, everyone needs to be able to contribute his or her opinions and ideas during the decision-making process.

  • True commitment means that team members have a clear ‘reason for being’. A team that commits:
    Clearly States its priorities and decisions
  • Is unified by a common objective
  • Moves forward without second-guessing
  • Is able to learn from its mistakes
  • Is capable of changing direction without hesitating or feeling guilty
  • Teams without commitment are prone to lack of focus and stagnation. Additionally, even when an uncommitted team does move forward with a plan or idea, members who haven’t fully bought in can end up feeling disregarded or ‘left behind’. It becomes apparent their priorities aren’t the same as everyone else’s and different people end up working towards different goals. Without commitment, teams:
  • Feel uninvolved and disinterested about their direction or priorities
  • Overanalyze and delay action, eventually missing opportunities
  • Quickly become less confident and more fearful of failure
  • Become prone to second-guessing
  • Waste time by repeatedly going over the same decisions and discussions over and over

Commitment without Consensus – Don’t forget, you are not required to have consensus to have commitment. When team members are inspired to share their ideas and know they’re heard, they’re better able to see the benefits of a smart decision – even if it isn’t their decision. As a result, they walk away motivated and feeling valuable rather than directionless and resentful.
Promoting Commitment Starts With Leaders – Promoting commitment starts with creating a positive company culture by building trust and encouraging constructive conflict. When team members can be vulnerable with one another and feel confident expressing their opinions, they are more willing and enthusiastic to be an integral part of a well-oiled machine. They’re also more likely to feel invested in wanting to keep that machine running as efficiently as possible by fully committing to plans and decisions.

Leaders with the most impact are those who can build and successfully manage great teams. Every day, we help our clients and colleagues achieve their highest levels of professional presence and personal effectiveness. That includes everyone on the ladder, from company presidents to project managers, to staff members. Contact us at 800-282-3374 to find out how we can help you impact your own productivity and the productivity of your entire organization.

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