What is consensus decision-making?
Consensus decision-making is an innovative way of devising a solution that benefits every employee. All employees reach a consensus by giving feedback and proposing solutions. The goal of consensus decision-making is to implement a solution that offers some benefit to all employees affected.
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Consensus decision-making benefits
Consensus decision-making enhances the cooperation of employees while taking the necessary steps to accomplish organizational goals.
Here are the benefits of consensus decision-making:
- Encourages communication: Effective communication ensures that all employees have the chance to talk about their feelings. The way an employee feels highlights the work employees need to do to build a consensus. If an employee is concerned about the deadline of the project, then they’d communicate their concern during the meeting. Give employees the chance to discuss feelings and follow up with them by asking how they’ll reach a consensus with the rest of the team.
- Builds stronger teams: Communication builds transparency among employees, and they’re more willing to collaborate with their coworkers if they feel comfortable around them. Schedule events and gatherings outside of the workplace to give employees more time to socialize with each other before you have a consensus meeting. Open time slots to have individual meetings with employees and gather feedback on how to improve the strength of your team. The results from these meetings increase the chance of reaching a consensus while improving the performance of your team once it’s made.
- Promotes employee engagement: Consensus decision-making gives each employee the right to provide input on the best way to expand a company’s operations. Allowing employees to render feedback gives them the feeling that they’re a part of the solution and that you trust them to propose ideas that have a universal impact on the company. Make sure employees have adequate time to share their ideas and elaborate on how the company can act on them.
- Allows for more thorough decisions: Consensus decision-making streamlines the feedback and information-gathering process. You’ll have more information to review, especially if you have a large group. Take your time to explore all feedback and options to make a calculated decision on how to proceed.
Consensus decision-making best practices
Follow these best practices for consensus decision-making:
- Identify a common goal
- Ask employees about their willingness to reach a consensus
- Establish roles for all attendees during a meeting
- Appoint facilitators to advance the willingness to reach a consensus
1. Identify a common goal
Before you begin speaking with your team about the subject matter, reiterate the common goal of the organization to give your conversation a well-defined purpose. If employees understand the purpose, they can frame their viewpoint on how the company should approach a current project. Feedback given by employees can change the approach to everyday tasks if the consensus differs from preexisting goals.
2. Ask employees about their willingness to reach a consensus
After discussing the organization’s common goal, gauge employees’ expectations. This step requires employees to be honest about their feelings and desired results. It is easier for you to proceed and adjust the tone of the meeting when everyone knows an employee’s expectations. Encourage employees to remain open-minded and flexible to help them participate in the conversation they’re taking part in.
3. Establish roles for all attendees during the meeting
Giving roles to employees shows that there is a structure that’s approved and workable. Giving accountability to all team members increases the likelihood they’ll keep each other in check while generating a consensus. Be sure to hold employees accountable for understanding decisions, reaching an agreement on their responsibilities and creating a feedback loop that increases their knowledge of the subject matter.
4. Appoint facilitators to advance the consensus-building process
Appoint facilitators to summarize previous talking points and ensure there is an agreement regarding the final consensus at the end of the meeting. Facilitators are only responsible for moving the meeting forward instead of being the influencing voice in the room. Contact participants to find out if they’re interested in being a facilitator. Select participants who have strong interpersonal skills and have the respect of their peers.
Consensus decision-making FAQs
Review answers to the most frequently asked questions about consensus-based decision-making:
Why is consensus decison-making important?
The purpose of consensus-based decision-making is to create a new approach that prioritizes engagement. An increase in employee engagement means that you’ll see employees cooperate and generate swift solutions to problems. The success of consensus-based decision-making leads to employees having more autonomy in their work while enhancing their involvement in the company’s operations.
What should you do to help employees reach a consensus in a timely fashion?
Reiterate the common goal of the meeting to all participants in addition to clarifying all employees’ roles and appointing facilitators before the meeting. Make sure to note the opinions of the participants and come to an agreement in the time slot you assigned for the meeting.
Why is time important for consensus-building?
Time is an essential element when you’re working on reaching a consensus because you have to accommodate many viewpoints within the timeline of your project or other goal. Considering the opinions of your team gives you the tools to advance the conversation and propose a solution later on. Employees get the impression that you’re making time for them to elaborate and what they think is important to communicate. You can separate the feedback and the solution part of the conversation when you’re meeting with employees. This method allows you to gather key information that helps improve the company in a short timeframe.