By Ken Hammock, The Joy FM

I’ve seen businesses operate by consensus. Managers don’t step up to train staff to work within a prescribed system. Rather, the manager’s mode of operation allows all staff to have a say, to provide input, to experiment and test ideas, systems, and tactics. The sales structure becomes a mesh of roque representatives doing things “their way.”

There are several devastating issues with consensus management:

1. The manager never captures or earns the respect from those under his/her responsibility. A title will not garner or require respect if the manager never demonstrates decisive knowledge or leadership. Who can follow someone who doesn’t lead?

2. When decisions are made, many of the representatives it affects will merely buck the system or ignore the implementation of the results. If open ideas and open discussions are so fluid, what makes anyone think the results and decisions aren’t the same. What cements compliance? What keeps rogue reps or an indecisive manger from forcing an indefinite discussion about procedures and systems?

3. Dysfunction becomes the norm. No standard or system is ever accepted, fully. Some comply, some do not. Discussions continue and manager concerns are unheeded.

Now, I believe a healthy work environment thrives on input from all employees. Everyone should see the value of his/her input.

Each person should have the confidence to suggest and discuss change. In the end, though, the manager must be very decisive and have the ability, knowledge, and fortitude to defend his or her decision. Then, all employees affected by the change must adhere to that system or seek other opportunities.

Training employees to work a prescribed and accepted system is more geared for success. Periodic system reviews allow changes, discussion and input. But, without an established and standardized system protected by decisive, knowledgeable managers, anarchy and chaos will rule.

Let me know how I can help.

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(Ken Hammock is a 30-year marketing veteran and is the Corporate Engagement Specialist for The JOY FM. You can reach him via email at ken@theJoyFM.com)