We all do it now and then: we have a decision made in mind, but we ask friends and family for their opinion. Yet the whole time we’re confident we’re going to stick with our decision no matter what they say. We just want them to feel involved.
Professor Roberto aims directly at managers and calls this the “charade of consultation”. It looks like involvement, but it’s just for show:
I continue to be amazed at how many executives get themselves into trouble with their teams by engaging in what my friend and colleague Michael Watkins calls the “charade of consultation.” The charade occurs when an executive makes a decision, and then goes to his team to “consult” them about the issue. The executive might even entertain a discussion of multiple options, yet then steer the dialogue toward the alternative he or she preferred from the outset. Naturally, team members see right through the charade. Such leadership approaches actually diminish trust and commitment.
Sometimes we’re open to changing our minds, but just aren’t convinced by what we hear. But other times we go in knowing all along, it’s just for show. Perhaps the answer is to express some level of confidence when involving others. “I’m pretty sure I’m going to do X, but I want to hear your argument for Y.” Then opinions can be offered but there’s no deception involved.