As the leader, your team looks to you not only to get it done but also to lead the way. On most days, you likely feel up to the task and excited about that opportunity. There are some days, though, that you don’t feel up to the task, and you’d rather stay in bed.
Maybe you’re struggling with a decision, big or small. You know what you would like to do, but you’re hazy on the outcomes, so you don’t want to rush it. Hey, we’ve all been there. The good news is, you don’t have to stay there.
Long before you get stuck on a single decision, you should develop some standards by which you make all decisions. For example, do you know what your core values are? I don’t mean in a buzzword kind of way. I’m asking what really drives you? What are your make or break motivations that get you out of bed in the morning? These are the foundational reasons you should make decisions, and they should never be far from your thoughts when you’re deciding what’s best in a given situation.
For many people, though, this can be easier said than done. They’ve thought about this question before, but they’ve never really sat down and worked this all out, created a priority list and considered how what they do is connected with why they do it.
As David Milberg noted, “When you’re in this process, write it all down. Don’t just have this conversation in your mind and get on with life. Write it down so you can see it, chew on it and really engage with it. Once you have a strong understanding of who you are and what you’re about, answer the same questions about your business … then write all that down too. Even if you never show this to anyone else, you need to have it on hand to remind yourself when facing a big decision.”
Here are a few questions to prompt your thinking on this topic:
- How do my decisions reflect my values?
- What does our work mean, both to me and for the business?
- What should my people be able to expect from me as their leader?
- How are we moving toward and not away from our goals every day?
Next, work on your ability to discern when an immediate decision needs to be made and when you can take some time and work through the options. Sometimes, you just don’t have a choice. You have to decide “now,” for better or worse. Most times, though, if you’re properly prepared, you do have at least some time. It doesn’t make you a “better” leader to make snap judgments, any more than it makes you a good leader to take unnecessary time “pondering” an issue. Find your sweet spot and develop it.
These standards aren’t going to directly answer every leadership question you have, but they will create a framework from which you can make good decisions … and, more importantly, the decisions that best fit your vision and goals.