A Leader’s Range of Decision-Making Options, a 3-part series (Part One)

In today’s business environment of teamwork, quality performance and customer service leaders believe they have given away their option to make decisions. They believe decisions must be made by a group or team.

That’s not the case. Leaders always retain the option to make decisions. They often know by previous experience that certain decisions cannot be left for someone else.

It’s also important to understand that when a leader’s mind is made up about an issue it is inappropriate to ask a team to make the decision. If the team makes the “wrong” decision the leader will change it anyway. This approach to decision-making establishes an environment of mistrust, and undermines the functioning of teams. I remember a personal experience with a President of a company who told me he was going to let a team decide what action the company should take, “But if they come up with the wrong answer I have the answer right here in my pocket.”

There are several (5) decision-making options leaders should consider:

The first decision-making option is for the leader to “decide and announce.” The leader uses this option when they determine that this decision cannot be made by others, and their mind is made up. The keys to success in using this option are to one, clearly state the decision, and two, explain the reasons for using it. My president story (above) is an example of someone who had made up their mind and failed to assume the responsibility.

What are the advantages of using “decide and announce?”

1 The leader is in immediate control of the decision and the decision can be made quickly.

2 For an organization that is use to leaders deciding it is consistent with organizational norms and cultures.

The disadvantages of this option:

1 Those who must carry out the decision may not support it, and they could undermine it.

2 If the company or organization is learning quality performance and team building skills this option could undermine that process (if not this option is not explained carefully).

Author: maxbinkley

Creator of Leadership to the Max My experience in the military helped set the career path for me in human resources. After the military I worked for The Dow Chemical Company and left there in 1993 to venture out on my own. I purchased a small business, then a franchise then started another business in semi-retirement.

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