Skip to main content

Leadership Decisions

Decision making is never a burden when leaders share the load. 

Leadership decisions can be made in many ways. Often, the situation determines which type of method a leader uses to make a decision. Some ways include:

Decide and announce: the leader does all the work, makes the complete decision, and hopes that everyone follows. This method is useful in a crisis (like a fire fighter captain at a fully involved blaze) and less useful in other situations (for example, picking an organizational strategy for next year).

Consult and then decide: the leader talks to key people, gather information, and makes the decision. Sometimes that decision is close to what others have recommended, and sometimes it isn't. This method is useful when the decision is complicated and technical in an area where the leader has authority but not all of the expertise. The method fails if the leader consults the wrong people or disregards all advice without ever explaining the rationale for the final decision.

Vote: the leader proposes some choices and the constituents vote on which decision to implement. This can be effective if you want to reach a very large and geographically disbursed constituency -- say, for instance a general election. It is less effective with small teams because elections produce winners and losers -- and the losers don't tend to support the winners.

Collaborate to reach consensus: the leader meets with the key constituents and provides guidelines for the issue. Often an independent facilitator is brought in to conduct the session. The group agrees to support the final decision whether or not they all agree that it is the best solution. This agreement is critical to the success of a consensus decision. This method is highly effective for building teams and for reaching large decisions that require the support and involvement of most people. The challenges to consensus are that it takes time and must be skillfully facilitated to avoid a false election atmosphere or executive fiat decisions when the process bogs down.

Which decision process should leaders use? The classic answer is that it always depends on the situation. My recommendation is to use as much involvement of your people as time and resources allow. Not only will you make a higher quality decision, but you won't have to sell something that people have decided on themselves.

Are you including your people in your decisions?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Learn more in the workshop:  Supervising for Success


Comments

  1. I wish there was a bigger difference between "Vote" and "Collaborate to reach consensus." I think in both cases, there can be a tendency to create winners/losers.

    In my experience, the most important factor in achieving successful collaboration is FIRST getting agreement on the problem -- what is it?

    Too often we are too quick to jump to solutions, before everyone has agreed that there is a problem. Unfortunately, our expediency creates the classic set-up that incubates winners/losers as you described.

    Good thought provoking post.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your comment is so accurate. It's so important for a leader to make the process clear. I've seen many groups gravitate to voting when they get frustrated with taking longer than usual to make a decision. Often, that's more reason NOT to vote, because there is still so much to talk about.

    The time spent reaching a true consensus decision saves much more time later in trying to recover the losses that come from trying to re-enlist people who have checked-out because they felt defeated in the decision process.

    - Doug Smith

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Benefits of Supervisory Training

When was the last time you had any leadership training?
How often do the supervisors in your organization get training?
If you are like most organizations, it's never enough. Some teams go without any supervisory training at all and expect supervisors and managers to learn as they go, on the job. Unfortunately, while it is memorable to learn from your mistakes, it comes at a high cost. People get tired. People leave. Important accounts go away. Customers complain. And teams struggle without the skills and knowledge it takes to build cohesive teams that are capable of solving problems, improving performance and achieving goals.
Admittedly, I can be expected to support training since I'm in the business. Still, take a closer look at your own leadership career and decide for yourself. Are leaders better off with more training and development or with less?
Supervisory training can generate benefits that pay off long after the training is over.
Here are just a few of the things supervi…

I Didn't Look Back, But If I Did... by David Spiegel

I’m numb to judgement — even my own judgement of myself. I know I’m doing the best I can. Judging yourself is a huge vulnerability because everyone else is already doing it for you. And if you’re not in that place, you’ve got no shot. Everybody else sucks at stuff too. ~ Gary Vaynerchuck

I'm sure that if I took a look back at my writings from this time of year for the last few years, my messaging to myself would be pretty much the same. 
New Year's day is just one more day on the calendar. January 1st does not bring new a new beginning to my life.
The idea that this upcoming year will some how magically be better than the last one is silly to me. Simply put, I wake up each day with the knowledge that I will work hard at being better today than I was yesterday. Just that simple.
Every day is an opportunity to create a better version of me than I was the day before. Therefore, it is only logical that by doing this, this year will see an improved version of David of last year. Th…

Right Now

How many moments does a leader have? How many do YOU have?



We don't know, do we? What we do know is that we have this moment, right now. What we do with this moment is done and then over. What we do with this moment is our choice. Let's do something great!

High performance leaders set great examples by doing great things in the moments that they have.

Right now is the perfect moment.

Can you feel it?

-- doug smith



Patience

Are you a patient person?



At one time, I was not a patient person. I had things to do, places to go, people to see. If people were slowing me down, it got me upset. If people were taking too long to do what seemed like an easy task, it got me upset.

The problem with having no patience is that you could spend a lot of time being upset. And what does that give you?

I've been working on it. While leaders may benefit from some impatience (are you done yet?) they truly need patience to achieve their mission. The big goals, the vision, the mission - all that takes time and patience. Let the butterfly work its own way out of the cocoon. Let the plant grow. Let your team member learn how to do what they need to do (even when, not if, it takes longer than it would have taken you.)

Patience takes practice.
How do you practice? Every time you feel impatient, breathe and whisper to yourself "ah...this is a patience growing opportunity."

Silly? Not as silly as living without patience…

High Performance Leaders Show Respect

If you had to build a winning team, what kinds of team members would you recruit? I haven't ever heard anyone ever say that they'd start with subpar performers. No one wants to build a team of strugglers. Wouldn't we rather have a perfect team?

Ah, yes, but there are NO perfect performers, are there? We are all flawed. We are all in various stages of growth. Superstars, as well as subpar performers all need to grow, all need to develop. How do we do that best?

As high performance leaders we must do two fundamental things very well. First of all, we must support our team members. Give them the resources, the training, the attention, and the respect that they need in order to prosper.

The second fundamental we must master is to challenge our team members. Challenge them in ways that they've never been offered before. Give them tough projects, delegate them advanced tasks, push them beyond their initial expectations until they see their own potential as something to work…

It's More Than The Money

I'm a fan of the arts. My high school yearbook blurb read "quiet, natural guy. Music, art and poetry are for him" and it's still true. Art matters.

Quality matters. Feelings matter. We are blessed with so many important tones and shades and notes in life and yet so much of our life is devoted to the singular note of money. Sure, we need money. Absolutely, I understand the quest for increasing one's wealth. I'm not saying that money is not important. It's just not alone in importance.

Money also makes a rough master. I've seen organizations make strategic decisions based only on the monetary factor and then get it dead wrong. Money doesn't care, and when the vortex points in a direction, even if it's the opposite direction you'd figured on, there it goes.

Making decisions based only on money can suck the heart right out of a direction. It can hurt people.

Money is important, it just works less effectively when it becomes all-important.

Mon…

Centered Leaders Say Thank You

How often do you say thank you?
Think about the supervisors that you've worked for in the past. Do any stand out in particular? Did your favorite ones tend to thank you -- often and sincerely, for the work that you'd done? Did they ever thank you for simply being who you are?
Centered leaders say thank you. A lot.
A centered leaders most frequent phrase is "thank you".
With all of the emotions that we must deal with in the workplace, there is one emotion that I'm sure everyone could use more of: appreciation.
Expressing sincerely, thoughtful, specific appreciation is a lubricant to leadership success. You can't run your engine effectively without it. You also can't fake it. Centered leaders do more than express appreciation -- they first find ways to feel it by appreciating the talents, skills, and efforts of their people.
If you are paying attention, the opportunities are all around you.
Are you saying thank you enough to your people?
-- Douglas Brent Smith
Deve…

Use Your Time Wisely

How are you using your time today?

-- Doug Smith

Remember What You've Learned

Hard fought lessons can be forgotten. What we forget can't help us.

It's easy, but foolish, to disregard the lessons of the past.

Remember what you've learned and your learning will serve you well.

-- doug smith


Don't Let a Lie Stand

Can you tell when someone is lying to you? Do you call them on it? Do you stay curious enough to explore what's behind what feels like a lie?

How about when you catch yourself stretching the truth or simply leaving out an important detail? You're better than that, right? High performance leaders are better than that. You can handle the truth, AND you can deliver the truth. Consistently, insistently, tell the truth.

The adjustment from a lie to the truth may be troubling at first but it's eventually liberating.

The truth rules.

-- doug smith