There are many characteristics that make a leader. One of the most important is good judgment, especially when making tough decisions. Poor decision making can make small problems big and cause big problems to become fatal.
The tendency of weak leaders is to put off decisions as long as possible. Sometimes it’s actually possible to put off a decision forever. Except it’s not really possible.
What weaker leaders don’t seem to understand is that not making a decision IS a decision. It’s a decision not to decide and that particular decision is almost always a bad decision.
Other leaders, even good leaders, want to wait to make a decision until they have as much information as possible to make a correct decision. That’s good thinking…except when it isn’t.
The very best leaders are prepared to make decisions even when they don’t have all the information they wish they had. They are prepared to make decisions even when the information they use to make those decisions changes every day.
They use past experience as reference points and their “gut instincts” to make the best decision possible at the time the decision needs to be made. They don’t only do that with small or easy decisions. In fact oftentimes they have to make the tough decisions, even the toughest decisions, without all the information they wish they had.
But Authentic Leaders make the decision anyway.
Authentic Leaders know that it’s easier to fix a wrong decision than it is to fix no decision. A real decision causes action to be taken and that action can be adjusted as many times as a fast changing situation may require. No decision is a decision to not take action and that inertia becomes more difficult to overcome the longer it persists.
It takes a ton more fuel to get a plane in the air than it does to keep it there. Changing course also requires far less energy than taking off. So it is with decisions too. Once you’ve made a real decision you’re in motion and motion begets motion.
Authentic Leaders make tough decisions. Many of them don’t enjoy having to do that but they make those decisions anyway. They know some of their decisions will be wrong but most of them, especially the big ones, will be right.
Don’t delay when it comes to making a decision. The moment you have enough information to make a decision make it. If you don’t have enough information to make a decision and a decision must still be made then make the decision.
Somewhere inside all of us is the ability to make good decisions. Authentic Leaders reach within themselves and bring that ability to the surface. That “reach” begins with a willingness to risk being wrong. It includes an understanding that a wrong decision gives a leader more control over a situation than no decision at all.
Don’t try to hide behind a “no decision,” take a risk of being wrong and make a tough decision, who knows, you may be right.