This is my 100th post since I began this leadership blog in March 2010. I have put some serious thought on what topic to write on for this particular post milestone. Great leaders are created from making impact decisions. One of the toughest decisions you make as a leader is which ones to delegate and which decisions you should step up to make yourself.
There is a fine balance of not taking decisions that your leadership team is capable of making or even should be passed on. However, there are decisions that can have great impact on the organization. You know them when you get them because they make you uncomfortable. In some cases, they can be controversial because they can impact workloads, job security, and even profit margin for the company.
“It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you get off on sometimes. What matters most is getting off. You cannot make progress without making decisions.” ~Jim Rohn
Impact decisions are moments when others expect you to draw on their input and your own past experience to make a tough call. The quote that says “it is lonely at the top” means that you take ownership for the outcome. Navy ship captains understand this principle well. This doesn’t mean you should make tough decisions alone. It means you are willing to own the decision publicly after making the final call with all the information possible.
Great leaders build teams around them that encourage honest feedback even if it is opposite of what the boss is thinking. This level of communication provides the “check and balance’ that is necessary to making impact decisions.
Tips for making tough decisions
- Learn to think “gray” in making decisions – this means you try not to form a decision too early until you have all the facts from both sides.
- Waiting to make a decision, if it is possible, will often reveal new important information that will help you to make the right decision. Use this additional time when you can.
- Making impact decisions means you are always thinking what is best for the long term vision. Some decisions will impact future decisions – so always consider that in the process.
- Some advice you get will be in what is best for them and may not be best for the company. Be tough enough to take a new direction when needed.
- Finally, always ask yourself if there is a direction that is not on the table that could be considered. In some cases, it will be the best or only option.
What advice would you offer in making big decisions?