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Great Leaders Make Decisions, Then Take Action

Source | | Trever Cartwright

Leaders make decisions every day. Some are inconsequential and don’t require a lot of deliberation. Others are significant and have the power to impact people’s lives or reshape the very trajectory of an organization. As such, they demand our full attention.

I call these decisions Rubicons.

They’re big. The stakes are high. Once they’re made, they can’t be unmade. They are what give unique meaning to the phrase often used to describe what it feels like to be a leader: “It’s lonely at the top.”

Yet, despite all the distraction and drama they bring, it’s worth considering this important question when attempting to wrestle a Rubicon to the ground: Is there really any such thing as a hard decision? I say no. There are no hard decisions. Hard decisions are often figments of an overactive imagination.

Often, grabbing hold of an objective perspective will quickly reveal the best decision with great clarity and precision. What’s difficult about big decisions—especially the Rubicons—is finding the courage to take action once they’re made.

It’s easy to delay Rubicon decisions—meandering for weeks or even months second—guessing them from every possible angle, the whole while only postponing the inevitable and the dreaded discomfort we imagine. We second-guess our thought process and wonder whether the consequence of taking action outweighs the consequence of taking no action at all. Our default strategy is to shop our decision with the wise ones in our lives whose opinions we value most. Sometimes we game this step, important as it is, by selectively choosing those we seek out, knowing full well the stand they will likely take—one that will bring us more comfort than discomfort or one that will be more widely viewed as positive by our employees, despite not being the best for our organization or its future.

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