Deciding When Not To Decide

I’ve always thought a strong leader was a leader who could make a fast and informed decision about anything at anytime. I thought this kind of decision making would help you achieve a irreplaceable position in the organization.

And it might.

But it’s horrible for the developmental culture of your organization.

Making all of the decisions does nothing to help develop other leaders or make them feel like they’re an important part of the process and furthermore it continues to feed your self deception that you’re actually the smartest person in the room.

So these days when faced with a really important decision that needs to be made I’m learning to respond with a simple question.

What do you think?

Amazing how that one question…

-develops ownership
-generates better ideas
-creates extra time for you to focus on what only you can focus on

Don’t be afraid to let go of your need to control your own life. Decide not to decide.

I’m finding all kinds of uses for this principle at work, in my marriage and with my kids.

So let’s all say it out loud together….What do you think?

Anyone else struggle with a few control issues?

4 Responses to “Deciding When Not To Decide”

  1. ellen says:

    One of the best teachers I had in nursing school used to say that to us all the time!!! :-)
    She was trying to get us to think for ourselves, think logically and problem solve. She was always open to us if we still had questions, though.

  2. Frank says:

    I think we all have control issues, leader or not!

    “What do you think?” Can be an extremely powerful question, but only if you follow through. We need to be ready to listen to the response and then (occasionally) allow people to act on what they suggest…even if is wrong!

    Allowing people to make those mistakes and then gently correcting if needed, can develop character, good team member and great person. Making a mistake ( that is not devastating) is a great tool and more powerful than a 10 day seminar on learning to lead.

  3. […] Pete Wilson suggests a more collaborative approach to decision-making: […]

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