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Even with “Team Leadership” – The Leader Still Makes Decisions

The concept of “Team Leadership” is popular right now, and many business and nonprofit leaders are moving toward that model. I think there are many advantages to team leadership, but I’m seeing one area where far too many organizations get it wrong. While teams are great for brainstorming, research, and execution, teams don’t make decisions, leaders do. That principle was highlighted in an recent quote from Patrick Lencioni, author of “The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business:”

“If your people don’t weigh in on a decision, they’re not going to buy into it either. That doesn’t mean you’re seeking consensus. The leader’s job is to listen to everybody, and then say, “OK, based on what I just heard, here is how we are going to go.”

If you are using a team model in your organization, then great. Teams are very helpful in generating enthusiasm and helping employees buy into ideas. But don’t make the mistake of leading by consensus.  Don’t farm out important decisions to your team.

If you’re the leader.  You make the decision.  

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Phil Cooke is the founder and CEO of Cooke Media Group in Los Angeles (CookeMediaGroup.com) where his team helps church, ministry, and nonprofit organizations engage the culture more effectively through media. He's a filmmaker, media consultant, and author of "Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media."