In the course of your day as a leader you are faced with many decisions. Some come in emails, some in inquiries, and some in meetings. Some you have time to consider, for some you will rely on input from others, and others you must make immediately.
There’s no question, leadership requires decision-making.
The decisions described below are, in large part, a different kind of decision. These decisions are not thrust upon you; they are decisions in front of you all of the time. These decisions are typically decided subconsciously or by default likely because you’ve not considered them at all.
I’ll share them with you and suggest a decision. Then you can decide your response.
Decide to focus.
Are you scattered in your approach and thinking? Are you disciplined to stay on task and move yourself and your team in the direction of your goals? Do you know the most important things you and your team need to be doing and thinking about? If you are consciously diligent about your focus, you may not like your answers to those questions.
Decide to trust.
If you want more trust in your working relationships, begin by being more trusting. This doesn’t imply blind trust or trusting people to do things they aren’t prepared for, but it does imply that trust is a decision. How much trust are you granting to others? Are you happy with this choice?
Decide to set high(er) expectations.
People tend to live up to – or down to – the expectations we have of them. Do your people know what is expected? Are those expectations not only clear, but aspirational? If you want improved performance both of these answers need to be yes.
Decide to lead by example.
People are watching you. They are watching what you say and what you do. The reality is you are already leading by example. The question is – is your example what you really want them to be emulating?
Decide to look for the good.
People grow from encouragement, a focus on their strengths and positive reinforcement. It is hard to share those ideas if you don’t see the examples. Are you intentionally looking for what people are doing right?
Decide to create a positive environment.
Environment matters to productivity, job satisfaction, retention, collaboration, creativity and more. As a leader, you set the tone and are the most important regulator of the environment. What environment are you choosing to create?
Decide to engage.
Are you an absentee leader, leaving your team to “do their work”? Do people see you as a part of the team – a caring, participating member? You are not just part of the work product, you must be part of the social fabric of the team.
Decide to start.
Some things that aren’t being done won’t get started until you go first. That is the role of the leader. What needs to get going? What needs a push? What must you decide to begin?
Decide to stop.
The status quo will continue without your leadership. When did you last consider what no longer needs to be done? When did you last look at the work of your team to determine what work is no longer needed? More personally, what are you doing that is inefficient or counter-productive?
Decide to learn.
Being a continual learner is a choice. Are you pleased with your personal performance? Have you mastered your most important roles and tasks? What else do you want or need to learn? The best leaders are learners. What have you decided is next for your personal growth?
These are not all the subtle decisions available to you as a leader, but they are among the most important.
I challenge you to consider each one individually and make conscious decisions; decisions that will help you be a more effective and successful leader.