Don’t Tolerate This Kind of Subversion
When teams come together over issues, concerns are expressed, advocacy occurs, decisions get made. Everyone present claims to support those decisions. Soon thereafter, those with doubts begin to express their disagreement to others. The “They” versus “We” begins to leak out. With their own teams, statements like, “They made a bad call, but we’re going to have to live with it,” become commonplace. No surprise, the decisions made by the team are undermined by this inconsistent commitment and energy by any given team member.
Great teams and team leaders don’t tolerate this subversion. There is simply no room for tepid commitment to team decisions. Having the chance to influence and advocate for your views comes with the obligation to accept those decisions you don’t agree with. This idea of “disagree and commit,” made popular more recently by Jeff Bezos, is a central ingredient to high-performing teams.
Once a decision has been reached, leaders in the room must commit to it. Anything less is passive-aggressive and does not exemplify good leadership. The best leaders presume the full team is never in complete support of team decisions, even when consensus has been achieved. Asking the team to disagree and commit by trusting the wisdom of the group is something great leaders do frequently. Once they make a decision, the best leaders remind the team that the decision flag goes all the way to the top of the flagpole. Every time. Standing together as a team includes committing to those team decisions that some find suspect. That’s what leadership means in a great team. If you disagree with this view, commit to it anyway.