Effective Leaders Make Decisions

A decision is a judgment. It is a choice between alternatives. It is rarely a choice between right and wrong. It is at best a choice between “almost right” and “probably wrong”—but much more often a choice between two courses of action neither of which is provably more nearly right than the other.
Peter Drucker

One of the things I never anticipated as a Bible College student and as a young 21 year old entering the ministry was the enormous amount of decisions I would have to make. Small decisions based on what type of paper to use for a craft, to large ones such as how to advise people facing a crisis.

The problem with most decisions is what Peter touches on in this first quote from his book “The Effective Executive”. 

Most decisions you will have to make in life are not clear. They are not right vs. wrong they are not good vs. bad. They are usually between almost right and probably right. In leading others you need experience, intuition and trust. Experience and intuition combine to help you get things almost right most of the time. Trust in your team and ultimately in Christ will help you make good decisions most of the time.

Executives are not paid for doing things they like to do. They are paid for getting the right things done—most of all in their specific task, the making of effective decisions.
Peter Drucker

Leading is easy deciding is hard. Everyone wants to be a leader and to some extent everyone is a leader.

What makes you effective in whatever environment you lead in is how effectively do you make decisions. Effective leaders not only make effective decisions but they train others to do the same. Decision making that is shared is always more effective than decision processes that are exclusive and ideas that are horde.

It becomes clear that a decision requires courage as much as it requires judgment. There is no inherent reason why medicines should taste horrible—but effective ones usually do. Similarly, there is no inherent reason why decisions should be distasteful—but most effective ones are.

Peter Drucker

If you lead long enough you will find yourself making lots of difficult decisions. I am not a type A personality so making hard decisions are not fun for me. I have had to make my fair share of difficult decisions over the past few years and many of them of been positive some don’t seem to be as positive. I thought I would share a few different keys to making good decision in hard situations.

1. Know the bible. The bible is full of wisdom for you, but more than that, it is a lens to see the world. When you understand your bible many things that seem hard from the outside are made clear by submitting your life to the Word of God.

2. Pray often – Prayer is us exchanging our weakness for his strength. You want strength to make good decisions? Pray. Exchange your lack for his sufficiency.

3. Listen to those closet to you. They care about you enough to speak the truth.

4. Listen to those who gain nothing from your relationship with them they are often the most honest. Don’t dismiss people because they are “strange” or are on the cultural fringes. They have nothing to gain or lose by speaking out so they often do so with much more honesty and clarity than we give them credit for.

5. Give the credit take the blame. No matter how a decision turns out. Always take the blame and give the credit to others.

No matter how many decisions you have made that have not turned out well. Learn from those mistakes embrace them and keep going keep deciding keep glorifying God in all things.

The Elements of Decision-making

To lead in any capacity you need to make decisions in an efficient manor. You need to assess a situation and make a determination as to what needs to be done often with little information. One of the key distinctive of leadership is the willingness to make a decision even under adverse conditions.

 

Only executives make decisions. Indeed, to be expected—by virtue of position or knowledge—to make decisions that have significant impact on the entire organization, its performance, and results defines the executive. Effective executives, therefore, make effective decisions.

 

Drucker, Peter F.

Leaders focus relentlessly

PerilsOfMultitasking

Multitasking is a myth. There has been much research recently. Earl Miller MIT neuroscientist at MIT explains that it is actually switch tasking and in the switching from task to task we lose more than we gain.

MIT neuroscientist Earl Miller (Think You’re Multitasking? Think Again: John Hamilton, NPR October 2008) says, “Switching from task to task, you think that you’re actually paying attention to everything around you at the same time. But, you’re not.” You’re really toggling between tasks at amazing speeds. Apparently, we were never multitasking. It’s a myth!

Leading is difficult. There are more things to accomplish than time to accomplish them. The only practical solution we think is available to us is multitasking. This thinking is only fed by the relentless wave of social media. We think doing more things is the way to get more done but the ironic thing is the less you do the more you get done. This is one of the more counter cultural things I have come to learn as I have gotten older. The secret to effectiveness is not how much can you do at once but rather how well do you concentrate on one thing at a time.

Leading well means leading others well

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Everyone is a leader. The first and most important person we each lead is ourselves. Those who lead themselves well often end up leading others. To lead others well you must learn how to identify and bolster the strengths of those you lead. In the Effective Executive, Drucker address the concept of leading others well by recognizing and developing the strengths they posses.

When leading people in your organization in such a way that you develop their strengths Drucker prescribes four basic rules.

1. Create a job that can be done. Far to many organizations and churches create a job that only a genius can fill and only a savant can accomplish. We want the perfect person sometimes to our own fault.

Drucker says He knows that the test of organization is not genius. It is its capacity to make common people achieve uncommon performance.

Drucker, Peter F. (2009-10-06). The Effective Executive (Harperbusiness Essentials) (p. 80). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

2. The job needs to be demanding and big. This does not contradict point one but is a further clarification of it. If you want uncommon people to do uncommon things to use and develop their strengths that will only happen through intentional clarity. You don’t grow someones strengths by being vague and grandiose but by creating a position that forces them to grow and learn in the confines of organizational and positional clarity.

Leader be proactive

peter drucker controbution

One of the biggest mistakes leaders can make is to wait to be told something. You will never affect change by waiting for change to happen to you. When leaders do decided to do something what they ask often is “What do you want me to do?” If you want to grow in your ability to lead others don’t ask “what do you want me to do?” Ask “What can I contribute?”

Executives who do not ask themselves, “What can i contribute?” are not only likely to aim too low, they are likely to aim at the wrong things. Above all, they may define their contribution too narrowly. – Peter Drucker