Leaders make decisions that matter

Organizations empower special people with the authority to make decisions.

Most organizations call those with the power . . . leader.

My personal note to anyone fitting the above leader definition.

Dear Leader,

Thank you.

I appreciate all you have done for me and how you have valued my contributions. Today, I am prepared to do more and so is the team. We understand you face pressures that you must carry on your own. Like most leaders, you are asked to deliver without the ideal team, yet held to the highest standard. We feel the pressure too! We all share the challenge of adapting to move more quickly.

Needing your help, we may be piling on through continuous e-mail and messages to you. That is not our intent. Trust me. Trust your team. We will help you carry the load more if you invite us.

When you do, tomorrow can be brighter not only for you, but for the organization and the team following you. Together, we will be better positioned for tomorrow’s challenges.

Sincerely,

Eric
Shepherd Leader

The leader responsiblity

Leaders make decisions. Making right decisions on behalf of the organization is what they get paid to do. While it may feel good when leaders ask us for our opinion, they are not obligated to do so. They must use their best judgement on when to involve the team. They get paid to know when to seek counsel and from whom.

The follower perspective

While some might disagree, supporting leader decisions is the role of everyone else. We do this by giving our best abilities, experience and giftings to help the leader succeed. Our responsibility means serving them the best we can, even when we disagree. While tempting to dissent, once a decision is final, the best follower becomes supporter. If you feel a temptation to second-guess, try substituting curiosity instead.

Why is supporting the leader important?

You shouldn’t expect to ever be a great leader until you can be an effective follower. I’ve served (and I bet you have too) many leaders that made decisions I didn’t think were correct. There have been times leaders ask my advice and I give them my best thinking. Sometimes they agree. Sometimes they don’t.

Becoming an exemplary leader requires we perform our responsiblity to support and help our team.

The exceptions:

Becoming a leader others want to follow means not following any leader that purposefully hurts others, disregards those who give them authority, or coerce you to do things against your conscience.

Leader | Your team needs you to do your part

One of the biggest challenges I am seeing facing teams today is slow decision making. The problem may be more pronounced in the largest organizations. Specifically, the problem right now is less about making wrong decisions, it is helping our leaders make decisions, period.

The result of indecisiveness is ineffectiveness. Teams feel like they are waiting for something to happen. They are neither being empowered to move forward nor provided clear direction on which way to go. As a result teams do ‘safe’ work. They take the path of least resistance because that is the only path open to them.

While this may feel good today. Teams are busy. Work is getting done. We shouldn’t be surprised when we find ourselves miles downstream when we were supposed to be paddling upstream.

How did this happen?

It is not about blame. It is about understanding. Those in charge are attempting to focus on too many things simultaneously. People are able to switch their attention back and forth quickly. Unfortunately, when we do it means we are not finishing. We need to finish.

Productivity that counts is measured by what we finish, not what we start.

Therefore, we need to help our leaders and ourselves make decisions effectively. When we do we can expect good things.

Expect positive outcomes

  • Increased delivery speed
  • Clearer communications
  • Measurable results
  • Stronger organization
  • Happier employees

The quality of decisions correlate to the character of the leader.

Who can lead us?

Leaders of Character:

Only through wise, trusted, empathetic leaders working in their area of gifting can we expect to help teams deliver faster. We should avoid giving people of lesser character authority to make decisions.

Today’s employee is not looking to be managed, they want to be led.

People yearn to follow leaders that take time to know them. Moreover, employees work harder when their work matters and they see how it connects to the organization’s goals. Leaders can help with that.

What if we don’t get better at making the right decision faster?

  • Employees experience increased stress, anxiety and frustration
  • Weaker organizations
  • More team burnout without hope of their work contributing to the most important
  • Fire up the marketing and increase talent acquisition budgets
    Spend more selling people to work for us because word of mouth won’t overcome reputation
  • Prepare to lose in the market place and find ourselves competing only on price
  • Expect to give account for poor stewardship when our organization isn’t measuring up
  • More authoritarian leadership coming soon

I’m wondering what would the workplace look like if decision makers made the right decisions at the right time?

ACTIONS

  1. Name one type of decision you make that others could be making?
  2. Outline the process for making the decision
  3. Take steps to empower others to make the decision and hold them accountable

Shepherding: The art of becoming the leader others want to follow

From the Shepherd’s Library

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