Tuesday 5 February 2013

This is Not a Democracy

When I see people who I consider good leaders, be they of any age, gender, height or ethnicity, I see one thing that they do very well. They make decisions quickly. Quickly does not mean recklessly. It just means that they make a decision knowing that if it isn't right then they can correct at a later time.

Too often, I see people who decide for whatever political, career or other reason that they want to be a leader without understanding the fundamental decision maker trait. They go in to every situation and in particular meetings, as if they are chairing a committee that must come to a full consensus before a decision is made.

This is one of the worst things you can do.

Of course, it is right to listen to the group and take input and feedback at all times. That is a given.

The big mistake is to ask permission to move forward at every stage in a journey. This slows things down because of two important factors: 1) You can't always get everyone to agree; and 2) People don't always want to have to make the decision for you.

The latter is important. That is one reason why people like leaders. The responsibility to deal with consequences often falls to them. Others will assist but they don't want to have to be the ones who decided that things be done. This in itself is not a bad way to be. Not everyone wants to be in control of every situation. That is why we sometimes lead and we sometimes follow.

Making every decision by committee can also mean that the "wannabe" leader loses trust because they look indecisive.

If you want to lead then just lead. People will forgive you errors if you can fix them. If you share the same goals and want the same outcomes then there is nothing bad about deciding now and apologising later.

Not every group has to function as a democracy in order to work.

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