Brian Braudis has heard the question asked a hundred different ways. As a leader, how can you make a difference? If you want different, Braudis says you have to think different. It starts with your mindset.
For the past 20-plus years, Braudis has been telling leaders across the world that leadership is tangible energy. Everyone leads. Your energy and emotions demonstrate, project and model how you lead.
In his book, “High Impact Leadership: 10 Action Strategies For Your Ascent,” Braudis talks about how the traditional view of leadership is outdated, ineffective and unattractive. Today’s leadership arc puts less emphasis on profit and production and a greater one on humanity – people, society, well-being and purpose.
And when you create the right energy to lead, you can create resonance. Here are his insights on how your thought leadership can build a consensus for how you and your brand can make a difference.
Let’s start with the easy question – why is it important for your brand to have everybody on the same team?
Imagine a rowing team that does not have consensus of thought. Rowers who do not agree on direction will cause everyone else to overcorrect and work harder than necessary to maintain direction.
The same is true for the direction of an organization. If divisions or branches within an organization don’t agree with the vision or mission, energy and effort is wasted. Each day’s effort in an organization should build on the previous day’s momentum. It should look something like the “snowball effect”: rapid, exponential growth that engulfs everything in its path due to the continual building of consensus.
The act of building consensus is the investment that keeps on giving. It fosters employee engagement. When you involve people you can count on their commitment and that commitment builds and creates momentum.
What’s the best way to do this?
Let your team know they matter and their ideas matter. Build, cultivate and instill consensus. Make your team feel like they are integral to the alignment and direction of your organization. Invest in consensus-building and sit back and enjoy the ever-increasing momentum you’ve created.
Is this strategy a lost art form?
I don’t believe it is. In fact, I think the extensive and long-term rewards of consensus building are too often overlooked. A lack of consensus is the most common vulnerability your team will face. Disagreement sets a team up for derailment and nobody wants that. Consensus is the essential ally to teambuilding. When leaders give team consensus development their time and attention, the stage is set for the organization to thrive.
On the other hand, if you’re operating with one leader who has all the ideas and all the answers your team is saying, “Why am I here; am I needed?” It appears inauthentic – as though you have a team but don’t use their talents, ask their input, but don’t care what they think. There’s nothing worse for team members than to feel unwanted, not needed, like an extra burden. The direction and viability of the team suffers under the “one great leader” approach.
What are the keys to building consensus?
You must begin with what the team agrees on and build from there. We seem to all agree that the best way forward must include a solid plan to work together toward the goal. It is important to avoid polarizing the group with us/them/ agree/disagree positions. Also, use a strengths/weakness approach to point out the underlying values and experiences that relate to the support of one alternative over another. Even if consensus is not reached, by identifying these underlying values you’ll be pointing the way forward.
What are the benchmarks required to build team unity?
Remember that this is a long-term process that cannot be rushed. Having a consistent set of participants who work and learn together over the duration of the process is essential to build trust. Building a consensus will not be reached without trust. Most critical is that the bulk of consensus meetings must be face-to-face.