Leadership skill development includes consensus building

Consensus building is a value-added empowerment to create a better future together.

Consensus is a cooperative process in which all group members develop and agree to support a decision in the best interest of the whole. In consensus, the input of every participant is carefully considered and there is a good faith effort to address all legitimate concerns.” (Dressler, 2006)

Arietta and Wallace (2000) defines consensus as “a journey and a destination.” As a process, consensus is the means by which groups can productively resolve issues, make choices or develop strategies. As a product, consensus represents a resolution—a decision that satisfies all participants.

The University of Minnesota Extension Office lists the benefits of consensus decision-making: Inclusive participation engages and empowers the group; Requires a commitment to work together and increases cooperation; Creates shared understanding through discussion that bridges differences; Equalizes the distribution of power in a group; Can create better decisions that are more representative of the larger community; Creates more ownership and commitment; Results in more effective implementation because the entire group takes action on the project or plan.

The Toastmasters International (has a club at the Champaign Family YMCA) is a world leader in communication and leadership development. For more information about joining contact Greg Hower at the Champaign Family YMCA at 937-653-9622.

John C. Maxwell quote: “Consensus building: Abraham Lincoln was such a phenomenal leader because he understood the importance of consensus building and bringing together the people around him to help make up for his weaknesses. “The fallacy of leadership is thinking that if you can lead in one area you can lead in all areas, and you know all the answers,” Maxwell says. “This is simply not true. The new generation of leaders needs to be consensus builders by walking slowly through the crowd and valuing the opinions of others before making any decision.”

John Hale



Arietta, D. L., & Wallace, L. (2000). Consensus building fieldbook. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Extension and Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.

Dressler, L. (2006) Consensus through conversation. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Maxwell, John C. (2009) http://www.success.com/article/a-life-of-leadership-and-inspiration

University of Minnesota Extension Office https://www.extension.umn.edu/community/civic-engagement/tip-sheets/consensus-decision-making/