When a leader opens up the decision-making process to the whole group — whether in HR or in a line department or team — it can have many benefits.

Participation by those with a stake in the outcome can lead to better decisions because those closest to the situation know it best.

Also, those involved in making the decision are more likely to help ensure that the decision is successfully implemented.

All together now
But there’s a contrary case to be made.

Sometimes, a group effort results in the suppression of dissent and conflict, known as “group think.” And group effort can tend toward a decision that’s either more cautious or bolder than the participants might make on their own.

It’s important to understand that not all decisions can or should involve your whole group.

To figure out when and how to invite others into the decision-making process, consider the following (a tip of the hat to the-happy-manager.com for these):

  1. Who is in the group? The expertise and characteristics of group members can affect decision-making. For example, experienced employees can tackle more complex issues than a group of newbies.
  2. How much time do you have to deal with the issue? Group decision-making naturally takes longer than making a decision on your own. Also take into account the group members’ workloads and deadlines.
  3. How will the group be affected by the decision? Do you need group members’ commitment for the decision to be successful? Or is the issue at hand on the periphery of the group’s scope of work?

photo credit: Uninen

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