Are You a Consensus Builder?

I read an article recently that started with “Consensus building is a big part of leadership”.   I agree.   It is also a great label to have within our ‘brand’. 

Leadership is many things to many people.  We could go on and on for the next few weeks listing and discussing all the attributes of great leaders, both currently and in the past. But you can’t be everything to everyone.  Sometimes we will have labels that will define us that are highlighted through one or more of these attributes.

How about being a ‘consensus builder’?  If I had to select the top 10 attributes for my leaders, this would be one of them.

Typically, building consensus to reach an agreement is a part of every leader’s job, daily.  This includes:

  • sorting out disagreements between divisions and departments
  • working with an employee who is struggling with their future
  • working with two teams who need to find a solution to a key element of the organization
  • selling to a key customer  

What would it take to be a good consensus builder?

  • We should already hold a level of trust and respect within the group.  This would be essential before we even get started.  
  • We would need to be able to see the big picture, to be strategic in our thinking.  This would help get the parties involved out of the weeds and into the ‘benefits realization’ going forward.
  • We would need to be good listeners so that we can hear both sides of the story.
  • And we should be empathetic to allow the human element to be a part of the solution.

A long, hefty list, but certainly possible for most of us.   These are all great qualifications for any leaders out there, but when you think about expanding your brand to be known as a consensus builder within your organization… all are necessary.

Not a bad label to have over your head: the local consensus builder. Try it on.

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