What to do: Challenge yourself to acknowledge an unspoken question.
As a leader, it can be tempting to "overlook" the elephant in the room out of convenience, but doing so almost always leads to a loss of respect. Instead, give your team the credit they deserve: assume they can read between the lines, and make the extra effort to address the question that dwells there. After you've acknowledged the unspoken question, move the conversation to finding a solution.
When team members feel they've been treated like the astute observers they are, there are two beneficial outcomes. First, they are highly motivated to continue being engaged because you've treated them as engaged. Second, because you've demonstrated that you recognize their intelligence and their capacity to hear hard truths, they tend to be more willing to assume the best of you as a leader - and accept that hard truth.
What to do: Share the why behind how a decision was made.
It might be tempting to come across as a strong leader by sharing final decisions as immutable facts. Whether it's your personal call or a sweeping corporate decision, it's important to explain what led to the decision. If teams are educated on the reasoning behind choices big and small, there's a much higher likelihood of getting buy-in.
When team members are all clear on the motivation behind why decisions are made, there's less time wasted with unnecessary back-and-forth and they're more likely to quickly understand and take key next steps.
What to do: Remove obstacles to clear communication.
Ask for input early and often to set an expectation of openness. When there is nothing in the way of open and honest communication, teams work through sticking points and find their way to agreement faster. Not only do you avoid festering tensions, your end result will be better because diverse perspectives have been considered.
What improves: Relationships between team members grow authentically and problems tend to get solved faster.