Collegiality and consensus-making PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 18 September 2017 14:01




IN any governing body, the spirit of collegiality is highly recommended. No leader should just rule by himself without consulting with some people whom he trusts and who have the competence to take part in the decision-making. No matter how confident one is in governance, he should realize that he cannot know everything that needs to be considered. He has to consult with the others.

It may not be a perfect system, but at least the requirements of prudence and effectiveness would somehow be better served that way. Everyone in that governing body, both the head and the members, should know how to express their views without fear, as well as listen to each other. They have to learn how to dialogue and ultimately make some kind of consensus.

Collegiality is an art that cannot be improvised. It has to be studied and acquired little by little. Perhaps the first thing that we have to do is to kill the tyrant or dictator that is usually inside each one of us. Even if one is the leader, he has to consult with others. In fact, it is more so when one is the leader.

I imagine that everyone in that governing body has to study the issues well before taking them up in a meeting or session.

As much as possible, the head and the members have to study those issues from as many angles as possible, coming up possible scenarios and recommendations and alternatives.

In this regard, it would be good if everyone approaches the issues with an interdisciplinary tack. Yes, it’s true that everyone may have his own specialization and preferences which, of course, have their legitimate value. But care should be made that such specialization and preferences do not lead them to have a silo mentality.

There should be mutual sharing of relevant information and data. Constant interaction among the members should be facilitated.

For this to happen, appropriate attitudes and dispositions should be cultivated—like openness and friendliness. Petty or serious envies  should be eliminated, and especially so with one-upmanship.

In fact, the more one feels to be superior to others because of training or experience, the more he should humble himself to be more receptive to the views of the others. It would not be a sign of weakness in one’s leadership to act that way. In fact, it would show his strength, for the strong can bear the weak but not vice-versa.

St. Paul in his Letter to the Romans said as much: “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to edify him.” (15,1-2)

The decisions arising from any consensus made by the governing body should be such that while they may favor the majority of the people concerned, they should not put the minority in some unbearable situation. We obviously cannot please everyone, no matter how well we try to resolve things.

As much as possible, the decisions should reflect what St. Paul once said: “He who gathered much had nothing over, and he who gathered little had no lack.” (2 Cor 8,15)