How do you make decisions during a meeting? Is the process efficient, and is everybody heard?
Remote working increases that challenge even more. This article will discuss four types of decision-making possibilities in meetings. Unfortunately, many companies use mainly one or a combination of the first three types.
Autocracy happens when the loudest and most influential voice gets its way. Such meetings are often noisy, people do not listen to each other, and flawed reasoning is the norm. Silent but often precious voices do not get heard, which leads to frustration and disappointment. With time, the employees will get annoyed and enter the meetings with already built-up negative energy, even worsening the situation.
Consensus means that everyone has to agree to a decision. Such meetings occur in a very similar manner to autocratic ones, and it can often be a combination of the two. They can be loud with hard discussions and arguments. However, consensus decision-making is often very time-consuming because there is no end until everyone agrees. Such an approach can create a loss of drive for new ideas because employees want to avoid such endless discussions. Motivation levels will eventually get low, and the decisions will not be optimal.
The Majority vote means that the majority has to agree. The majority vote approach is often blunt autocracy with hidden power structures. Good ideas are often missed out, similar to the other two methods. The people in power will usually get the most votes because of the fear of consequences like getting fired.
Alternative: Consent decision making
Consent decision making means the absence of objections. This approach was adopted by the Sociocratic movement and urged the group to accept a solution that is “good enough” and safe enough to try. Employees come prepared for such meetings by providing an idea and a possible solution. Consent decision making follows a formal process, and a decision is made if no one can give a reasonable objection.
This approach can be discouraging initially, but people will get accustomed to it over time. Furthermore, it has a lot of advantages in the long-run, such as more buy-in from everyone, a non-toxic meeting culture, valuable input and information during meetings, and it saves a lot of time.
All in all, it is good to keep an eye on the decision-making process during such meetings. However, discussions with pointless arguments should be avoided, where not everybody is heard and which leads to nowhere. Hopefully, this new approach will help you to overcome these obstacles!