As a leader, I am forced to make dozens of decisions every day. I've learned the secret to making better decisions faster.
When I'm pushed for a quick answer—when everyone knows a decision needs to be made now, but without time to get all the information I would normally require to make a decision,
I empower people on my team to make the decision.
Sometimes I simply don't have enough information or enough time to gather it, even though by position the decision would normally be mine to make. It happens frequently enough I need to have a plan for those occasions. It happened frequently when I first arrived in a new church and in a new position, but it keeps happening. There are decisions that need to be made quickly, but I don't know the parameters we need to make the best decision as well as others on the team do.
I could slow down progress. I could micromanage. Instead I empower people to make decisions.
In times like this, the people on our staff:
- Have more knowledge about the issue than I have.
- Usually have an opinion of what we should do.
- Often hope I'll answer the way they want me to.
- Won't always share their idea until I ask for it.
In those times, I will ask a question, such as, "What do you think we should do?" or "Are you comfortable enough to put your name behind it?" or "What would you do if you were me?"
Then I go with their instinct—maybe even over my own.
But, and this is key if you truly want people to give you input, I let them know I will back them in the decision.
And, equally important, I let them know they will be also held partially responsible for the outcome.
- I'm still on the hook.
- I'll support them completely.
- I'll stand fully behind them.
But I'll follow their lead on the issue.
It grants them authority. It allows them to buy into the decision. It grows their leadership. And, it helps move the organization forward faster.
The leadership principle here: If you want to lead people, you have to trust the people you lead and let them own decisions with you.
Ron Edmondson is the senior pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky.
This article originally appeared at ronedmondson.com.
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