Leadership Framework For Helping to Make Tough Decisions

Every day you as leaders are tasked with making tough decisions, some of which are unpopular. As the leader, you know you sometimes need the strength to go “against the grain” if that is required. The tough decision you are tasked with making include:

  • Who are the right people to lead the organization?
  • How do you discipline with fairness and compassion?
  • Should we grow or shrink the organization?
  • What size staff is necessary to support our business?
  • When should we exit a business?
  • How do we manage scarce resources – money, talent, equipment, etc.?

We all know that the list could go on, as there are hundreds of areas where leaders make tough calls. Great leaders do not shy away from controversy; they realize it is why they are called leaders. The best ones make courageous decisions within a framework that guarantees the decisions are the best ones under the circumstances. Listed below is a framework that can help when making tough decisions:

  1. Leaders need to always operate from a set of values. Test every action and decision to determine consistency with the values and the vision.
  2. Lay out the facts and assess them.
  3. No great leader operates alone or in a vacuum. Get input from the people impacted. Be cautious though so that you do not let the will of the masses dictate the decision.
  4. Develop a list of potential decisions, and test the validity and impact of each.
  5. Check for and assess support for the decision in advance, and do what you can to gain support especially if it will be unpopular.
  6. Leaders act swiftly and decisively, avoiding the “analysis paralysis” (over-analyzing) problem.
  7. Communicate the decision and rationale with high energy, and listen carefully to the feedback.
  8. Commit wholly to the decision, and do not waffle if there is resistance. Admit ownership of the decision. Take accountability and do not blame someone else.
  9. Leaders, you need to continually evaluate the impact. Have the courage to admit if it was a mistake.

Using this framework ensures progress toward the mission, while preserving the environment of trust within the organization, even if the decision is unpopular and going against the grain.  What steps have you used to make those tough decisions?  Please share.

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About Patricia Knight
Hello and welcome. My name is Patricia Knight. Thank you for taking the time to view my blog. I’m a Human Resources professional who is currently pursing an MBA at the University of Nevada-Reno. I am an analytical, detail-oriented professional who believes that collaboration and negotiation are critical for successful employee relations between leadership and employees.

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