Here’s a trap that any leader can fall into — assuming there is consensus on a problem or a course of action when there actually isn’t any.

A recent posting with Suzi McAlpine’s The Art of Leadership blog explains that this dynamic is more common than people realize. This happens because lots of teams – both leaders and staff – tend to avoid conflict, and that can hurt productivity.

“We often value harmony over good debate on issues, and that’s not great for team performance. Team members may be unlikely to raise objections for fear of alienating others or themselves,” the blog posting notes.

That resistance to candid dialogue can be harmful when a team moves ahead to implement a project. As a result, when dissent becomes known, a project can become “unstuck” and ultimately fail, according to the posting.

To avoid this, an executive should focus on teambuilding and nurturing trust by rewarding open debate. The posting suggests a good leader can support this by double checking to make sure everyone has spoken up. Another good tip: seek contrary evidence and make sure that the team is all on the same page.

Once that’s accomplished, an executive can proceed on a task or project with greater confidence.

The full blog posting – “Five common decision-making mistakes and how to avoid them” – can be accessed at this link.