Trusting Your Team with Decisions

Description

If you want to lead people, then you have to trust the people you lead.

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 that I need to have a plan for those occasions. It happened frequently when I first arrived in a new church, in a new position. But, it keeps happening. There are decisions which 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.

I could slow down progress. I could micromanage. Instead I empower. That’s the secret. 

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

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 principle:

If you want to lead people you have to trust the people you lead and let them own decisions with you.

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