Possibly it is a sign of our times or an indicator of a cultural shift, but it appears many SMB leaders are now engaged in consensus driven leadership. What this usually looks like is the majority of decisions from marketing to employee engagement evolve from consensus. The central leader (and I use that term very loosely) to maintain harmony involves EVERYONE.
The foundation for consensus driven leadership is one of weakness not one of strength. By walking this path the leader of the SMB reveals his or her lack of effective balanced decision making skills, resiliency and self confidence along with the fear of personal accountability and cover your behind mentality.
This type of leadership suggests other significant problems within the organization. Misalignment comes to mind. When leadership by committee takes over, each person in the committee interprets based upon his or her role the desired results differently. The end result is usually chaos.
Read Fail-Safe Leadership to Understand the Impact of Organizational Misalignment
Missed opportunities also happen because a decision that could be made quickly or fairly quickly is lost in the myriad of meetings. With change happening in many market places and industries very fast, almost akin to the speed of light, opportunities never see realization because too much time has passed.
Department turf wars are another result of consensus driven leadership. Each department head believes his or her turf is the most important and will do anything to protect it.
Finally, when consensus driven leadership is in place, the executive leader is actually in charge in name only. Those within the organization know others within the executive team are making the decisions if any are ever made.
Being in a significant leadership role and achieving the desired results is not for wimps. No it takes both efficient and effective executive leadership skills to steer the organization while keeping all actively engaged. Primer Minister Margaret Thatcher aptly described this type of failed organization leadership when she said:
“Consensus is the absence of leadership.”
I believe she should added “and reveals the presence of wimps.”
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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leadership in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA. Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.