What’s Rare is Valuable – Decision Making Defines the Leader #52 #cong21

Synopsis:

Good leaders make good decisions. The process may change. Some steps are easier that others, some steps can break down under pressure, but if you have someone at the helm who is a sense maker, who is empathetic, creative and capable of assessing alternates clearly and capable of establishing the merit, in context and while staying independent of vested interests, then you have a decision maker… and you have a leader.

Total Words

778

Reading Time in Minutes

3

Key Takeaways:

  1. Leadership is characterised by many traits of which decision making is a distinguisher.
  2. The value of a leader is not about the volume of input but the impact of output.
  3. Good leaders create meaning in context for those around them.
  4. Good leaders can connect options and likelihood of success rate to arrive at good decisions

About Padraig McKeon

A Sligoman based in Dublin, Padraig McKeon has been either studying or working in Communications since the early 1980s

He has his fingers in a range of pies, paid and unpaid, as a consultant and a director. He also lectures in DCU, is the dad to three opinionated young women and is sports mad.

He is innately curious and loves making connections between his experiences and problems that need solving… and it only takes a cup of tea to get him going.

Contacting Padraig McKeon

You can connect with Padraig on Twitter and LinkedIn or send him an email.

By Padraig McKeon

It’s a familiar refrain that we hear a couple of times a year, whether spurred by the latest unpopular decision by a government, the reappointment of a controversial executive by a public company or the sacking of a high-profile sports manager – “how can they be paid so much?”

A lot of the misunderstanding lies in the presumption that remuneration is about working ‘harder’ and that there is a correlation between hard work, or effort, and reward.

The reality is that high reward is mostly about paying for something that is rare – an ability that few have and that even fewer can execute and deliver on, consistently, while under pressure and in any prevailing conditions.

There’s a lot written about leadership – about ‘soft skills’, emotional intelligence, and most of all good communications skills but a critical distinguishing characteristic of the leader in any organisation is the ability to make a decision. The capacity to make decisions is what they are paid the big bucks for.

More particularly it is about making decisions that are good and that is it is a rare ability. The renowned consultant and educator Peter Drucker, regarded by many as the father of modern ‘’management” thinking, noted that “effective executives do not make a great many decisions. They concentrate on what is important… They want impact rather than technique”!

So, what marks out the decision maker, how does one get good at making decisions.

The decision-making process can be broken down in different ways but a University of Massachusetts summary paper, I saw recently set it out well as a process delivered in seven steps

  1. Identify the decision required
  2. Gather relevant information
  3. Identify the alternatives
  4. Weigh the options,
  5. Choose among the alternatives,
  6. Take action and execute
  7. Review and evaluate

That’s the process but what are the characteristics of the person that can deliver across all the steps – what are the characteristics we should look for that are, apparently, worth so much.

Sense making. We live in a time of dynamic, high speed information flow. There’s a lot of, often raw, data that needs to be shaped into intelligence. It’s a skill to apply meaning to the information around us, in context.
Empathy. The ability to understand the thoughts and feelings of others – those that might be impacted by circumstances – from their point of view, but dispassionately.
Creativity and innovation. The capability to see outcomes or solutions, and to have the capacity to envisage options and alternative approaches to a situation.
Judgment. The capacity to interpret what is available in terms of evidence that points to the right option.
Independence. The ability to ‘stay above’ the pull of those that might have a particular interest.

Good leaders make good decisions. The process may change. Some steps are easier that others, some steps can break down under pressure, but if you have someone at the helm who is a sense maker, who is empathetic, creative and capable of assessing alternates clearly and capable of establishing the merit, in context and while staying independent of vested interests, then you have a decision maker… and you have a leader.

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