Why Consensus Is Overrated

Sometimes the most compelling path to persuasion isn’t via group buy-in. In fact, dissension in the ranks can establish you as a bolder leader.

Leaders are paid to achieve results. Period. They often, therefore, must make tough decisions — decisions that others might shy away from or try to drown in a group setting. U.S. Army General Dwight D. Eisenhower didn’t call a meeting before launching the D-Day invasion of Europe, and US Airways pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III didn’t ask permission from the control tower prior to landing Flight 1549 in the Hudson River after geese disabled engine power.

In other words, leadership doesn’t happen by committee. When the situation warrants, you need to make the tough call. So the next time you’re in a meeting and consensus regarding your ask seems unforthcoming, be the voice of reason for the group and render a decision that you know will result in the right outcome.

You lead by creating results from which the majority will benefit — even if the majority doesn’t agree with you at that moment.


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