Eric Jacobson

Be A Manager Who Makes Decisions

In Company Culture, Effective Communications, General Leadership Skills, Leadership, Leadership Books, Leadership Education, Leadership Skills, Leadership Training, Making Decisions, Management on January 27, 2012 at 7:59 pm

A manager who can’t make a decision or who can’t make a timely decision will frustrate his/her employees. Equally bad, a lack of decision will impede the progress of the manager’s team.

Some managers make endless requests for data as a way to postpone their having to make a decision. Employees end up spinning in circles, slicing and dicing the information far beyond what is truly needed for the manager to make a decision.

Some managers are simply afraid to make a decision in fear of making a “wrong” decision. These managers don’t necessarily request needless data, but simply just never decide.

Successful managers gather the data from their employees, make any truly necessary follow-up requests (probing beyond what their employee may have researched/gathered on their own), and then make their decision…knowing that in virtually all cases most decisions are not black and white “right or “wrong,” but are the best decisions made at that time for the current circumstances.

Good managers know that most decisions can be tweaked along the way as their teams carry out their tasks impacted by the decision.

  1. INDECISIVENESS – (using a military-oriented parallel)

    “In case of doubt, ATTACK!!!”

    Instead of waiting to see what might develop, attack constantly, vigorously, and viciously. If you’re standing around trying to figure out what is happening or what the enemy is up to, you are making one hell of a good target out of yourself and your men. Never let up. Never stop. Always attack. “L’audace, l’audace, toujours l’audace.”*

    Source – Province, Charles M. Patton’s One-minute Messages: Tactical Leadership Skills for Business Management. Novato, CA: Presidio, 1995. Page 46.

    * Translation is, “audacity, more audacity, and even more audacity.” Audacity, if you look in a thesaurus, also translates to boldness, daring, courage, bravery and nerve. So, when in a position of indecisiveness, “L’audace, l’audace, toujours l’audace.”

  2. TAKING ACTION and AVOIDING INACTION – (again, using a military-oriented parallel)

    “Lack of orders is no excuse for inaction.”

    It’s everyone’s job to strive unceasingly toward goals and objectives to ensure total victory. Don’t think that you’re finished just because you’ve reached one objective. Don’t wait for orders to continue the battle. While you’re working and fighting for the current objective, you must be planning for the next assault. History is full of tragic accounts of campaigns lost because leaders stopped on the wrong side of a river, because they didn’t have the initiative to exploit the advantage of a battle just won, and because they failed to obey the basic requirement to constantly be on the offensive. Patton said, “I assure all of my officers and soldiers that I have never and will never criticize them for having done too much. However, I shall certainly relieve them for doing nothing.” When orders fail to come, they must act on their own best judgement.

    Source – Province, Charles M. Patton’s One-minute Messages: Tactical Leadership Skills for Business Management. Novato, CA: Presidio, 1995. Page 55.

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