No MBA mumbo-jumbo, just stuff that's worked through 30 years of team-building in business and the military.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Be Choosy About Choosing

For a long time, I thought one of the great benefits of being the leader was freedom of choice - I get to decide. With a little more life context, I don’t think that anymore. The best thing about leadership, if I do it right, is I get greater freedom from choice. 

There’s some great science out there that shows we can effectively make a limited number of good choices in a day. That’s why, at the end of a busy day, it can be hard to decide what to have for dinner. 

The key, then, as a leader, is to make sure you spend your juice on the choices that really matter, in terms of vision and goals. 

How? You have to create the context, and give permission, for your team to decide other things. Let them figure out schedules, decide how to serve a customer or client, resolve conflicts over radio stations and thermostat settings. That lets you focus on choices that move your team from here to their brighter future. 

There are two key parts of enabling. First, you have to coach your intent, the way you look at life and the organization and your goals. That enables them to know, at a minimum, which choices you probably wouldn’t make. Second, you have to clearly set their boundaries, so they know when they need to get you involved. Then, let them run.

If you can get there, you’ll find that making fewer decisions means you make better ones.

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