Once everyone in the team knows that their views have been heard and have been taken seriously, it is much easier to buy-in to whatever decision is made, since very few decisions will receive 100% consensus. Often where teams display a lack of commitment, it is often due to a lack of clarity and closure on the part of the leader. Take, for example, your team meetings. Do you end every meeting by ensuring that everyone knows what key decisions and actions have been agreed and what should (and also what should not) be communicated to their direct reports? Imagine the alignment if every person in the organisation gets exactly the same message from their manager? Confusion is eliminated, and the risk of silo behaviour is massively reduced.
Action plan: be diligent about ensuring that the team has absolute clarity about decisions that have been made and make it clear that when a decision has been made, everyone must align around that decision. This requires one of the most mature behaviours in teams – the ability to disagree and commit. Remember that first, people need to be able to disagree, hence the importance of healthy conflict. People will often only feel able to support a decision they disagree with unless their reservations have been taken seriously. It’s also worth noting that as decisions are often made on less-than-perfect information, it is important that if new information comes to light which means the initial decision must be changed, the leader is equally clear about this and the team has the opportunity to buy-in once more. This underlines the importance of having high levels of vulnerability-based trust, since it takes a great deal of personal security to recognise that a decision needs to be changed. In teams with low trust levels, egos and political battles lead to an inability to change decisions without a loss of face. This underlines once again the importance of cultivating high levels of trust.