Poor leaders have trouble making decisions. They follow team consensus. Poor leaders never veto a team’s decision. Consensus decision-making has it place but great leaders also make unilateral decision. Leaders must make difficult decisions even though team members do not agree. Tough decisions go against the team. 4 reasons teams disagree with a leader: 1. Fear 2. Jealousy 3. Loss of power 4. Do not know full facts 4 reasons leaders veto team’s decisions: 1. Team decisions not working 2. Leader knows additional information 3. More than one right decision 4. Experience How vetoing a team decision saved my company: I founded the American Sports Company, the largest shoe contractor, in the Dominican Republic. Our major problem was finding proper management. In the first three years, we had 4 top managers. In order to overcome management problems, I used management from my other companies in Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico. Dave and Giovanni alternated their time between American Sports and their own factories. Dave and Giovanni constantly put out fires when they visited American Sports. When they left, problems persisted and got worse. The current management team needed the right leader. I set up a meeting with Dave and Giovanni and concluded we needed the following: 1. Spanish-speaking manager from the Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico. 2. Person with both management and manufacturing skills. 3. Person with excellent people skills. We discussed different individuals but none met all three requirements. I suggested America Bosch, a woman, with excellent people skills, from Puerto Rico with both management and manufacturing skills. Dave and Giovanni said no to the recommendation. Their reason: there were no women managers in the area and we needed a strong man to run the company. I vetoed the team’s decision. I never regretted hiring America. From the first day everything changed from negative to positive. America was a true leader and understood the Dominican people. With America at the helm, the profits grew and customer satisfaction reached an all-time high. She was tough when she needed to be tough and understanding when she needed to be understanding. Most importantly, the employees respected her. She became like a mother to me and I became like a son to her. We have employees that still ask about her. How to veto the team:
- Follow the voice of experience.
- Let the team know why. They don’t have to believe it.
- Be certain you have reliable information and understand the situation.
- Make the call and live with the decision.
After making the call, I felt relieved and a little anxious. I believed she could do it. Even I was surprised at her stellar performance. Can you share a time when you had to veto a team decision? What did you learn about making decisions?
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JFK stood up to his team during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The leader holds ultimate responsibility and has to ask the final questions.
Martha…Great analogy…Thanks for your commment
Another process you can use in situations like the one describes is Concordance Decision making. This method goes past consensus. Everyone has a say, Anyone can veto, and everyone strives to be as open as possible. If Concordance were used and facilitated well, you could imagine the other two males exploring their prejudice against women managers and giving America a try. With concordance you work inclusion, control and openness. Give it a try sometime. You get maximum input and maximum buy-in. As groups learn how to do it – it actually takes less time.
Robert….Thanks for the comment…The process sounds interesting and a way to get everyone to buy-in.
Interesting situation Larry. Every time I have gone with a group decision with which I am uncomfortable, I’ve regretted it. Now, I try to be very clear whether I’m looking for a group decision or whether I’m soliciting input or want a brainstorming session but ultimately, the decision will be mine.
Letting the group know whether you are soliciting input or a group decision is a great way of letting the group know you will make the final decision. Thanks for your comment.