Team Decision Making Tips That Never Get Old

By: Samantha McDuffee   |   August 6, 2015

When you need team consensus and commitment to tackle an issue, involve your team in the decision making process.

Sergey Dudiy, Ph.D. posted the Top Nine Tips for Better Teamwork and Team Building in 2005, eight years ago. Quality advice can definitely stand the test of time!

Team decision making can be tricky, but it’s key for each team member to feel his or her ownership in the final decision regarding an issue that needs everyone’s support. The more your team members feel this way, the more likely they are to agree with and commit to the decided line of action. This can also help you make a better decision by reducing bias and facing public scrutiny.

However, when you bring other people into the decision making process, you need to approach decisions differently. Team decision making does take preparation and time. You will face challenges that may include:

  • Diverse Team Membershipmaking a team decision
  • Lack of Policy Guidance
  • Low Team Authority
  • Internal Politics
  • Organizational Inertia
  • Lack of Integration
  • Gaps and Ambiguities

Keep in mind that when one or two people have the necessary expertise to make the decision, it doesn’t make sense to involve the whole team, especially when you’ve built a lot of trust within your organization. Also, group cohesion and consensus can subconsciously become more important to people than reaching the right decision in some situations. These factors encourage leaders to make decisions that require enthusiastic commitment without team input, which may derail the success of your organization. To determine which approach is appropriate, ask yourself:

  1. Does the decision have an impact on your long term vision? 
  2. Are you assessing a critical situation?
  3. Do you need support from multiple team members to execute a decision?
  4. Are you  looking to increase understanding and support among your team members?
  5. Should self-interests be incorporated into the decision?
  6. Do you need to persuaded, rather than coerce team members?
  7. Is it important to minimize backroom politics?
  8. Do you need to balance risk?
  9. Are you looking for an innovative solution?

If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, consider team decision making strategies.

effective team decision making

Before you organize full team participation, make sure that it’s appropriate, and that you have the necessary time and resources for it. When you have determined that consensus and commitment are vital, follow these additional tips for effective team decision making:

  • Small groups may better undertake urgent tasks.
  • Larger groups also require more formal structures to co-ordinate responsibilities so as to avoid duplicating efforts.
  • Teams are often more effective when they have a mix of people who take on a preferred role. (e.g. The “ideas” person v.s. someone analytically.

Do you have any additional tips for team decision making?

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