One of the pleasures of working from home is getting to watch my wife Eileen Inkson work once in a while, making TV shows. (Not, I mean, that she only works once in a while).
And what I've learned is a clickbaiter's dream: THIS ONE SIMPLE TRICK WILL HELP YOU CREATE CONSENSUS. Especially when time is short but everyone's opinions need space to be heard.
Before we get to that, in true clickbait style, I'll talk about something else. The opposite of the rule. I've lost count of the number of 'leaders' I've worked with who seem to believe that power lies with the one who speaks last in any given situation. Some of them will dress it up as being about 'being a better listener' but an old boss of mine explained it as a being about giving yourself time to measure the mood of the room, think longer than anyone else, and get the last word.
Again and again, I see it played out, sometimes well, sometimes badly: in the end you need to have an opinion that counts. What it always does is slow meetings though. Everyone proffers their answer to the 'teacher' and waits for a mark.
Eileen does not do this ever, as far as I can tell. But she does always do the same thing and decision making in her meetings proceeds more rapidly than the norm (believe me, I know meetings).
What she does is use this formula:
1 - listen to a fact or opinion
2 - immediately give her opinion on it
3 - ask if anyone else in the meeting has an opinion they want to add
The result is:
1 - no one wonders what the boss thinks, and whether they are going to be on the wrong side of it
2 - the most likely direction of travel is expressed quickly
3 - everyone gets the opportunity to speak up, and to disagree
Often what happens next is someone builds on what has been said, rather than diverting it. Instead of everyone chiming in and waiting for the boss to 'judge them' usually there's only one or two opinions expressed before the meeting moves forward.