Creative Leadership

Even with “Team Leadership” – The Leader Still Makes Decisions

The concept of “Team Leadership” is popular right now, and many business and nonprofit leaders are moving toward that model. I think there are many advantages to team leadership, but I’m seeing one area where far too many organizations get it wrong. While teams are great for brainstorming, research, and execution, teams don’t make decisions, leaders do. That principle was highlighted in an recent quote from Patrick Lencioni, author of “The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business:”

“If your people don’t weigh in on a decision, they’re not going to buy into it either. That doesn’t mean you’re seeking consensus. The leader’s job is to listen to everybody, and then say, “OK, based on what I just heard, here is how we are going to go.”

If you are using a team model in your organization, then great. Teams are very helpful in generating enthusiasm and helping employees buy into ideas. But don’t make the mistake of leading by consensus.  Don’t farm out important decisions to your team.

If you’re the leader.  You make the decision.

Have you ever experienced the chaos of leaders who farm out their decisions to their team?  Tell us what happened…

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3 Comments

  1. one more thought – your stuff “provokes” me in a good way Phil – always has! But I disagree with the team leadership. The reason why is because I have found on big decisions you need a team to be accountable and they need to agree – there is a reason why you choose your team – because you trust their relationship with the Lord – getting to the place of agreement is important and so is the process to get there – I disagree with one leader having final say I think there needs to be more accountability in ministry and that group that you are accountable to should agree – at some level – that is true “maturity” in ministry. if you can’t get agreement on your team how do you ever expect to get the body to agree with your message or unity to come in the faith?

    1. It has very little to do with “agreement” and a lot to do with making a decision. Having a team come to a decision can take hours – trust me, I’ve worked with organizations who tried it and were paralyzed. In military terms – “A team can take the hill, but a leader knows what hill to take.”

  2. ‘What every good team needs is a Strong Leader’ – Jonar Nader (author of How To Lose Friends and Infuriate People).

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