One of the most important jobs of a leader is that of making complex decisions. Making good decisions is an attribute of a leader that is under appreciated by many who study leadership. Researchers have been marginally successful in understanding how people form the ability to make good decisions. Some research has developed complex models for understanding decision-making processes, but they have yet to map the decision- making process in such a way that those looking to develop the skill of making good decisions can learn this process. The reason is that good decisions are unique and vary for every circumstance. In all situations, there are hundreds of thousands of variables that impact whether or not a leader uses good discretion to make a good decision. How a leader interprets these variables, and the weight the leader assigns to each variable when making a decision, is 90% a subconscious process. Because this process is so subconscious, developing the attribute of using good discretion is often dismissed as innate talent and not learned behavior.
A great ecclesiastical leader has been quoted as saying “we are a walking bundle of habits.” The behaviors that we observe in our lives from those who are closest to us in our formative years, have the most impact on the behavior habits we form. There is mounting research to show that we develop the ability to make good decisions early on in life. The bad news is that for those looking to develop the skill of making good decisions later in life, the cards are stacked against them. This is not to say that one can’t develop this skill later in life, but it does mean that the most important period of our lives for developing the skills to make good decisions is when we are young.
If you are older in years and looking to develop this skill, the first place to start is by developing a keen understanding of yourself. Be clear about who you are, your beliefs, your values, your purpose, your focus, etc.
Over the past three years, I have observed many people who
have been looking to acquire leadership skills, and many who are teaching
leadership skills. I have noticed a
trend in those who possess the ability to make good decisions. The best decision-makers,
who are subsequently the best leaders, are those who know themselves. As the
first commandment of leadership goes: “know thy self and be true to your core.”
Once you have defined your core, have
the mental fortitude to remain true to it.
Finding your core and staying true to it is the foundation to all great decisions. Great leaders make great decisions, one decision at a time.
Posted by Daren Blonski