An authentic leader has many important roles in an organization. Coach, mentor, and manager are just a few that come to mind. To be an effective leader they also must be skilled in a number of critical areas: they must be vision casters, they must have great judgment, they must be strong communicators and they must make tough decisions.
I could do a full post on any of those skills and many more that are required for effective, authentic leadership; but today, we’re just going to talk about decision making.
I know George W. Bush had a lot of fun poked at him for saying he was “the decider” but the reality is that one of the key requirements for authentic leadership is the ability to make a decision.
That ability grows out of two characteristics which are vital for leaders: integrity and courage.
People in leadership positions who fail to make timely, effective decisions often lack the basic courage to do what they know should be done. They may fear a confrontation, they may fear hurting someone’s feelings, they may fear that it could be a wrong decision.
All of us are held back by fear from time to time but to truly lead you must make the tough decisions in spite of your fear.
Still others in leadership positions lack the integrity to make timely critical decisions. They wait, they postpone, they delay while they try to figure out a way to have the decision benefit themselves.
In both of those cases the result is often delayed decisions or even worse, no decision at all.
Authentic leaders know that “no decision” IS a decision and it is almost always the wrong decision. “No decision” paralyzes an organization, it stops growth and allows doubt and rumor to fill the voids left when no decision is made.
When “deciders” don’t, or won’t, or can’t decide; the results are usually dire for the organization they lead.
What experienced leaders come to understand that is even a wrong decision usually causes fewer problems than no decision. So they decide to decide!
If you’re new to leadership, then decide today that you WILL decide. You’ll get as many facts as you can, you’ll seek the advice of your associates, you’ll use your best judgment and then YOU will decide. It’s what authentic leaders do!
Of course, after making the decision you must act on it but we’ll leave that for another post.