Participation and Consensual Operation

As a minimum, the team leader should adopt a style of participative management of a team. This implies full involvement of all team members in the process as well as in the products of the team. Those members who are laid-back should be encouraged to participate and bring their thoughts and ideas to the forefront. Lack of participation can be a signal of some type of dysfunction in the team; the leader should be particularly sensitive to the non-participating team member, following up with one-on-one conversations to see if there is some type of problem lurking in the background. The full-participation team is very likely to be a high achiever with solid relationships between team members and the leader.

In just about all participative team operations, it should be recognized that although there is strong participation in all processes, the team leader usually takes responsibility for all key decisions. This means that participation does not imply majority rule. In a project situation, the PM does not normally take a literal ''vote'' and then automatically go with the majority. Indeed, the PM may disagree with the majority and therefore may make a decision that is a minority decision. Such are the vagaries of managing a project. In addition, all team members must be aware of and accept the prerogative of management in terms of the final decision, and once it is made, must use their best efforts to implement that decision. There is no room for the team member who undermines the team leader's decision, whether or not he or she agrees with it. If the team member cannot ultimately support a PM's decision, the next step is to leave the project team.

Participative operation, however, is not the same as consensual operation. More precisely, the latter can be interpreted as team agreement on a course of action, but without an explicit vote of the team members [6.1]. Consensual operation of a team is very desirable but not always possible. Most decisions, for a good team, turn out to be consensual. However, the leader should reserve the right, for a particularly contentious situation, to both take a vote (show of hands) and to make a decision that is contrary to the majority viewpoint.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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