What I’ve learnt: presenting a united front

Decision-making is a natural part of leadership and every leader comes up against their fair share of decisions every day. Whether they’re the little day-to-day decisions or those bigger decisions that have a profound effect on the direction of your team or organisation . It’s important, no matter the decision and no matter how many people are involved in making the decision, to always present a united front.

The great thing about having a diverse and powerful team is that everyone has new ideas and thoughts to bring to the table. This can become very obvious when a decision needs to be made; there will always be a few people who need a little more convincing when it comes to getting on board with a decision. I’ve learnt that you should never see this as a negative thing – after all, these team members can help you to analyse the decision further to make sure it’s the right decision. It’s important to make sure that all team members are on board by the time the decision goes public.

Why does unity behind a decision matter?

After a decision has been made, presenting a united front means that your message is delivered consistently by all leaders throughout the organisation. When opinions are being talked about openly by leadership teams and there’s unrest or uncertainty behind the decision, the rest of your team or even your organisation can feel uneasy and lose confidence in the leadership’s ability to make decisions.

So, if it’s so important to present a united front, why is it that so many leaders and leadership teams struggle in this area? In my experience, the process can be marred by leadership team members taking opinions or comments personally, as well as leaders not allowing their team to be heard. It also doesn’t help when any team members, including leaders, come to the meeting in a bad mood which impacts the emotions of others and the overall tone of the meeting. There is much to be said about having time to collect yourself and be calm when preparing for decision talks.

Three tips to help your team achieve unity behind decisions

  1. Ensure that all your team members have a voice. Every team member should be able to present their ideas with confidence but also be prepared for their ideas to be challenged and disagreed with. This open platform allows ideas to be built upon so that the best solution can be found for the problem and the best decisions can be made.

  2. If there is natural agreement to a decision, make it and move on. Otherwise, be encouraged by the majority view and seek the support of those in minority. Always be prepared to review the decision after a certain period of time to give them peace of mind if they are reluctant to back the decision.
  1. Never leave the meeting without confirming everyone’s support of the decision – especially the support of those who have been reluctant.

Not every decision will be easy to make – there may be times when even you, as a leader, have a gut feeling that perhaps the decision isn’t the best course of action. In this case, consult other functional leaders in HR, legal, operations etc. It’s always best to get second opinions but at the end of the day, being sure of your decision and ensuring your team backs the final decision is extremely important for any high-performing team.

If you’re ready to unify your team when it comes to decision-making, People Make the Difference can help. To find out more, visit www.pmtd.com.au or call us on 0412 333 415. Our online leadership training videos start from $99 for a year’s access, with new video training added each quarter. Great value if you’re committed to growing your leadership potential.