Helping organisations and their leaders to grow starts with identifying the right question. Over the years, our clients have trusted us with a wide variety of questions. For some, the answer may be straightforward, but others are often complex and demand time to find an appropriate response. All of these questions, however, originate from leaders who are deeply vested in their organisations and who continue to strive to do the right thing. It is through searching for these answers that we grow and learn. With this in mind, we have decided to share with you some of our recent learnings and hope they may be of help.
As leaders, much responsibility rests upon our shoulders with sometimes far reaching consequences – not only for our teams, but for us as leaders. “How can I make sure my decisions are the right ones?” is a question that keeps a lot of us up at night.
Well, the short answer is “You can’t.” That’s easy for you to say, you might think. And I would agree, if I wasn’t stuck at the same point often enough.
What sits behind that question is our wish to control. To quantify risk. To measure success. To do the right things and support our teams in doing things right.
In a world characterized by cause and effect, we as leaders might have had the opportunity to exercise this type of control. If I make the right decision, surely the team will do well and we will all win.
Unfortunately, the world has become much more complex in the 21st century. Everything is interconnected. Nothing is certain and it is constantly changing. We don’t have the luxury of control any longer – if this wasn’t an illusion to begin with….
In fact, our persistence in looking at decision making as a linear process can make us sick as we realize just how little control we actually have.
So, what’s the solution?
We need to move away from our traditional leadership ideal of the strong leader saving the day by making “the right decision”.
Leadership in the 21st century and achieving the right results for the organisation is about involving your team, trusting them, giving your employees the autonomy to make their own decisions (and mistakes) and adding value to this decision-making process with your vast leadership experience.
It’s about moving from a leadership model that is “lonely at the top” to a collaborative approach, in which leaders might still have the last say, but the decision-making process is a joint one. This raises the likelihood that the decision in question is “right”, as it’s informed by the team hive mind. It also establishes accountability and commitment within the team, ensuring whatever has been decided will be implemented.
This collaborative working approach may be uncomfortable at first. But I challenge you to try it out and see how you can sleep.