By Shawn Lovejoy: Almost every family has at some point been paralyzed by a decision as simple as which restaurant to eat at?
Ever been there?
At some point, even the most trivial decision can slow us up, yet the impact is often minimal.
However, as leaders, there are times when we face major decisions that actually carry weight in our lives and in the lives of others.
Perhaps you are facing that type of decision right now…
When should I hire more staff?
Do I allow negativity to continue on my leadership team?
Should I fire an underperforming team member?
How do I process my own feelings of inadequacy as the leader?
Questions like this are real. Perhaps one or more are real for you. Whatever decision you are facing, I want to challenge you to engage in the process of making it.
Here are 4 reasons you need to make that difficult call.
Decisions impact people.
I have never been faced with a tough call that did not impact people. Snap decisions or dragging one out for too long can hurt people. Decisions I have made have caused me to eliminate someone’s job, radically reduce an entire team’s spending expectations, decline someone their dream promotion, rethink a season’s worth of work for a department, and sadly dismiss people from my team. No matter how “right” the decision I made was, it’s confirms that you’re human if it doesn’t feel great when people are negatively impacted. While you need to lead with a strong mind, you also never need to lose tenderness in your heart for people. Care for people in what you decide, how you communicate, and the process you use to carry out your decision.
Progress is made.
Indecision paralyzes progress. Often when leaders are staring down the barrel of a tough call, they freeze. For the leader time stands still, for everything else in the organization it continues to move. We may not realize that when the leader is arrested by the enormity of a decision, everyone else feels like they are too. Making the call, even an unpopular one, frees everyone up to move forward. Progress can occur once we decide. Making the decision creates momentum.
Growth can occur.
Few things grow your leadership capacity more than navigating a hard decision. Difficult calls stretch you in a myriad of ways. You learn how to deal with the reactions of people, manage your own emotions and how to communicate change. Every major decision I have faced left me stronger on the other side of it. When I interview for potential staff roles now I like to ask candidates, “Tell me about the last decision you made that isolated you as the least popular person on your team.” If they do not have a good example, I know they have a lot of room to grow.
In fact, I recorded a podcast episode highlighting the reasons why you should take your next leap of faith. That decision you’re putting off may be your barrier of growth in this season.
You gain credibility.
People marvel at leaders with talent, are infatuated by leaders with charisma, but they respect leaders with guts. Making a decision, even if it is unpopular, sets you up as someone to be respected. I’ve coached hundreds of leaders over the years, some good at making difficult decisions, others not. My counsel to every leader facing a big decision is that their team does not have to agree with them on every call, but their team will struggle to follow a leader too insecure to decide. A leader who can maintain emotional stability, see the bigger picture, gain good insight and make a tough decision in a reasonable time is the one other great leaders want to follow! Work hard to gain and keep credibility. Having the strength to decide accelerates this process for you.
The next time you are facing a difficult choice remember that you are not alone. Involve others in your process, gain wisdom, take adequate time to weigh the options, talk to a Coach and then make the decision. It will require some guts to do so, but once you do you are on the path to enhancing your organization. Happy decision making!
— COMING SOON: THE COURAGETOLEAD PODCAST with Shawn Lovejoy SEASON 2 —
Don’t miss the upcoming season of the podcast that will be filled with practical coaching from Shawn as well as interviews with season leaders like Bill High from Hobby Lobby, Derwin Gray from Transformation Church, and Elizabeth Dixon from Chick-fil-A!
Dropping on May 18th!