One of the elements of leadership that I was a little too slow to learn was the nature of the processes by which we can come to final decisions:
> Listen carefully
> Gain multiple perspectives
> Provide safety for dissent
> Consider consequences and implications as thoroughly as possible
> Make the call
I tell my students in the UT Austin Principalship Program that the “easy” decisions will never make it to their office. Easy decisions get made at ground level in the organizational landscape.
The gut-wrenching decisions usually get pushed along to the principal’s office. (Translate that to mean the “boss’s” office in other types of organizations.)
At this point the principal/boss faces this scenario: short menu, ugly options.
At the end of the day, a decision has to be made, and owned. It is important to know that quite often, especially on the toughest of decisions, making the “right” decision means you may just be “barely right.” Understand also that when those decisions get made, and they must, at least 50 percent of the clientele are not gonna like the decision made. Goes with the turf.
This dynamic is one of the reasons that Dr. Steve Sample (author of Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership – 2002) rightly notes that there is a world of difference between having the title of leader and actually doing the difficult work attached to it.