WATCH: How Inclusive Are You When Making Decisions?

In this episode, I’d like to talk about ‘The Paradox of Collaborative Accountability’. It’s one of the 12 behavioural paradoxes developed by Dr. Dan Harrison. Now, if we take a paradox as being two statements, which seem to contradict one another, and yet are both true. We can take a behavioural paradox as being two traits or behaviours that seem to be in opposition to one another are contradicting to one another. And yet, when they come together form something synergistic. 


So, in ‘The Paradox of Collaborative Accountability’, we’ve got two traits. We’ve got ‘Authoritative’, which is the tendency to enjoy making decisions and taking responsibility for making decisions. 


And, ‘Collaborative’, which is the tendency to consult and collaborate with others when making decisions.


Now, if we’re out of balance in this paradox, and we’re high in ‘Authoritative’, but low on ‘Collaborative’. We’re in the ‘Authoritarian’ quadrant. And, while we may enjoy making decisions and taking responsibility for them, and providing clarity and direction to others. The lack of consultation may hinder implementation of our decisions. And the lack of consultation can also mean that we don’t generate valuable and useful ideas from others, and that can hinder innovation. And it can also create passive resistance to the implementation of our ideas. 

Defers Decisions

Where, if we’re very high on ‘Collaborative’, but low on ‘Authoritative’, we can end up in the ‘Defers Decisions’ quadrant. And, while we may be good at engaging other people in the decision-making process and gaining and getting their ideas. We may actually not take responsibility for making a final decision or we may neglect or procrastinate on making a final decision. And this can actually undermine teamwork because it can create conflict and confusion within the team.

Authoritative Collaboration

So, what we need is ‘Authoritative Collaboration’, where we are enjoying the input of others and making a decision. In order to be able to effectively gather, collect, decipher, pertinent and valuable information from a range of expertise and other people, in order to make a wise decision. 

Differing Decisions

This helps us to avoid being ‘Authoritarian’ and avoids ‘Differing Decisions’ altogether. And means that the team can really progress and make the best decisions possible. 

So, where are you on this Paradox? Where are your team? Where’s your leadership team? 

Because it’s really important when it comes to Decision Making, to stay curious! 

With best regards,

David Klaasen

Talent4Performance help business leaders clarify complexity. We inspire people and drive continuous performance improvement, so they can convert thinking into action and results.

©David Klaasen – 2022