The next letter in the L.E.A.D.E.R.S. Development Model is D. D stands for Decision-Making.
Leaders must humble themselves and acknowledge that they may not be the smartest one on the team, or the one with the best perspective on every issue at all times.
Leaders take the time to identify, gather and then analyze the necessary information that pertains to any decision.
Leaders work toward consensus by having the right people at the table, listening to their views, and factoring their input into the final decision.
There is no more important practice in any organization than making good decisions. A good decision is first measured by the process used and not necessarily by the outcome. Often, unforeseen factors can enter into the equation after the decision is reached that impact the decision negatively. A good decision is one that is made when the right people spend the right amount of time with access to the right information. Then they take the time to explain the decision and its rationale to others who can then “buy in” and do all in their power to carry it out.
No matter what the nature of a decision may be, most often there will be those who disagree. They may even resist or try to sabotage the decision in some way. However, (and this is a big however) one thing leaders can always defend, regardless of the outcome, is the process that was used to arrive at the decision. If leaders have tried their best to follow the suggestions for making quality decisions discussed above, then they can argue with clarity that the process used was appropriate, rigorous and fair. This can go a long way toward convincing others that the decision was the best and right one to make.
There is a lot more that can be said about the process of making quality decisions: determining what is really the issue; what data to collect; how to make sense of the data; choosing the right option; and implementing the decision. Perhaps we can get into that in a blog to come. In any case, as a leader, strive to make better decisions the L.E.A.D.E.R.S. way.
Dr. James Dittmar is the Founder, President, and CEO of the 3Rivers Leadership Institute which began in 2014.