Updated November 2, 2014 - 12:00am
Leadership is never easy. People desire positions of high leadership without knowing the many challenges that accompany such titles. Most people equate leadership with high positions, but this is not quite the case and I do have an explanation for this.
These people are focused on the perks of leadership; they do not understand the price of leadership.
When you’re a leader, all eyes are on you.
Every person makes mistakes. No one is exempted from making wrong decisions. When you were a junior, you probably got some tongue lashing or a memo.
As a leader, you get the blame for every mistake. The entire team criticizes and comments against you. Your bosses start to doubt your capabilities and you begin to doubt yourself as well.
I’ve made many bad decisions when I was building my career as an executive in the companies I worked for and I’ve also made many bad decisions as an entrepreneur. But thankfully, over the years I have learned to recognize the warning signs of a bad leadership decision. This is the value of evaluated experience.
Perhaps you might find these warning signs helpful, but please do consider the context. These are just hints and not foolproof. But should this list of hints help you make better decisions and avoid bad decisions, then I’d be glad because it has attained its goal.
1. YOU ARE ANGRY AND YOU ARE ABOUT TO MAKE A DECISION.
Important decisions need some “think time” before they are handed out. Never make a major decision at the height of your emotions. Sometimes you need to sleep it out because if you angrily churn out a bad decision right away, then you may have to spend more sleepless nights trying to fix it.
2. YOU WANT TO MAKE A DECISION WITHOUT CONSULTATION.
Do you know what the Scriptures have to say? In the wisdom book Proverbs 15:22, the wisest man who ever lived, King Solomon, said, “Plans fail for the lack of counsel. With many counselors, plans succeed.
3. YOU ARE TAKING YOUR SWEET TIME TO MAKE A DECISION.
This is the antithesis to the first hint. A decision that is slow in the making is tantamount to not giving a decision at all. There are leaders who always want to play safe and analyze all information that without which, they won’t be able to make decisions. Remember, some decisions need to be made deliberately but carefully.
4. YOU CONSIDER MAKING A DECISION BECAUSE IT IS POPULAR.
Leaders are not called to be popular; they are called to be effective and responsible. If you make a decision because it would make everyone happy, then you might be settling for less than the best. Sometimes, leaders have to make unpopular decisions that might upset people but do well for the organization.
5. YOU ARE ABOUT TO MAKE A DECISION BECAUSE IT IS CONVENIENT AND EASY.
Some decisions are easy to make, most decisions simply aren’t. Some decisions will cost money, time and personal energy. Do not choose convenience over effectivity.
6. YOU ARE ABOUT TO MAKE A DECISION BUT YOUR GUT TELLS YOU OTHERWISE.
Your experience, knowledge and wisdom have developed the “feel” for reading and understanding certain situations. You have a gut for a reason.
7. YOU WANT TO MAKE A DECISION THAT BENEFITS YOU AND NOBODY ELSE.
This is the worst thing any leader would do. The moment you choose personal advantage over ethics and values, you lose respect. Your people might not be able to trust you anymore and this could be the end of your leadership career.
The world is changing. Everything is in a constant state of change and leaders are the change catalysts.
Leaders have to make both easy and hard decisions. Wrong decisions are inevitable, but if these are made with the best intentions for the organization, then they are acceptable. But when bad decisions are made for personal advantage, then you know you have a problem.
Competence is basic requirement for leadership and so is a good and ethical character.
After all, the essence of leadership is not about dictating to others, but serving them for the better. This essence makes decisions right.