| Teams exist to get results. No matter how committed a team is there will be times when conflicts, disagreements, differences of opinion and even willingness to compromise will arise. Left unresolved these can stop any team achieving and could potentially lead to the team falling apart. The challenge is to keep the team moving forward. So how can you build consensus in teams?
1. Get conflict out in the open
When conflict arises the initial reaction is often to ignore it and hope that it will go away. We have probably all experienced situations where we knew things were not right between one or more people but decided to ignore it for what we thought was a quiet life. Trouble is that while we ignore the issue, the team drifts along without achieving the results it knows that it is capable of delivering. Where there is conflict, create a safe space for that conflict to be surfaced so that the team can move forward.
2. Recognise and value differing viewpoints
One of the great things about teams is that they bring a broad range of skills, knowledge and attributes to any particular challenge. This is a huge asset if teams are ready to use these differences to their advantage and a real liability if not. Think about it, if you have expertise from a range of different functions you have so much collective knowledge that you are going to achieve more. If you want to achieve more start to recognise and value the contributions of others.
3. Keep asking questions
When the going gets tough, one of the easiest things a team leader can do to move towards to keep asking good open questions. Too often team leaders rush towards finding solutions rather than asking questions which get to the heart of the issue.
4. Keep listening
Listening is a key communication skill but one that many people struggle with. Most of the time when we are listening, we are busy formulating what we are going to say in response rather than what the other person is saying. In times of conflict or when building consensus, listening allows everyone to get their points across so that decisions when taken are made from the best possible understanding. Additionally, even if your idea or direction is not the one that is chosen, you know that your ideas have at least been heard.
5. Take action on what you have available
Do you ever find yourself in teams where everyone is waiting for everything to be perfect before any action is taken? Everyone has there own view on what is perfect and what is good enough or fit for purpose. Stop waiting for perfection and start acting on what you have. The worst that can happen is that you need to change course and who knows what might be achieved through action.
Building consensus is a vital part of team achievement. By taking some simple steps you can start to achieve more. So what's your first step?
Duncan Brodie may be contacted at http://www.goalsandachievements.co.uk
Duncan Brodie of Goals and Achievements Ltd (G&A) works with individuals, teams and organisations to develop their management and leadership capability. Sign up for his free e-course and monthly newsletter at http://www.goalsandachievements.co.uk