I have to confess, this article was provoked reading the newspaper about the upcoming elections. Many “leaders,” political and otherwise, are making statements. Some are choosing not to vote, one feels that a write in vote for “Ronald Reagan” demonstrates his leadership and thoughtfulness.
While it’s been those incidents that got me thinking about the issue, I reflected on so many situations I see in business. Too often, I see leaders failing to make decisions, failing to take action to address issues that impact organizational performance.
For example, too often, we see leaders failing to take action on people issues. They have people that aren’t meeting expectations. Instead of coaching them or addressing the performance issues, they hide their heads in the sand. They fail to recognize the toxic effect this has on the rest of the organization.
Sometimes, our strategies aren’t working, or markets/customer have changed. Too many leaders recognize this, complain about it, but fail to take action in correcting them.
Often, we face choices that aren’t attractive. We face decisions that may not be “popular” or fashionable. We want the perfect answer, but sometimes, we are faced with choosing between the “lesser of two evils.”
Too often, leaders fail to choose. Some say, “I am choosing to do nothing.” In reality, that’s a false choice. It is the equivalent of the leader saying, “I am choosing not to live up to my responsibility and do my job.”
Leadership is always about making choices and “leading.” Often, the choices are painful. Often, the choices aren’t great. Often, the choices aren’t easy. Sometimes, we don’t have enough information, having to make a decision with that which is available. Often, we can’t make the “perfect” decision.
Every choice has consequences, and as leaders, we have to evaluate those consequences, choosing the alternative that is better than the others. Then we make the best of the situation, continually looking at how we improve and move forward.
If you are uncomfortable making choices, you are cannot perform as a leader.
Afterword: Since I started this post based on my observation of US Politics, I will end on that topic, but with a non-political statement. Please Vote, your choice matters.