"Do we all agree" is a terrible question

“Do we all agree” is a terrible question, sometimes even dangerous. We often confuse “collaboration” with “consensus.” The former is about engaging a group of people to work together and discuss ideas. It aims to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. The best leaders are certainly collaborative.

But the best leaders are not concerned with consensus. They know that ultimately there’s a decider. Everyone has a chance to express opinion but if you look for consensus you get watered down bs. You start to run your company like Congress – “ok Jim, what does this bill need to have to get your vote.”

Great leaders also know that the decider should often be someone empowered on the team. They don’t end meetings asking if everyone agrees, they make sure everyone understands the decision and the plan. “Does everyone know what they need to do next” is a good question. “Does everyone have what they need to execute successfully” is a great question. “Do we all agree” is a terrible one.