A good leader can inspire people to achieve objectives thought of as impossible. Leader confidence, enthusiasm, and charisma can grant mysterious powers and unimaginable courage to ordinary followers.
Some leaders have better judgment than others. Ethical decision making requires intellect, experience, synthetic thinking, courage, and right instinct.
A leader judgment and decision making can lead to organizational progress, people’s growth, and economic prosperity. The primary job of a leader is to inspire his people to coalesce their forces in the quest of the realization of a collective worthy goal.
People listen to their superiors because of their rank or because they inspire them. Status gets the job done on time, but Inspiration gets exceptional work done early and under budget.
The leader’s judgment is a potent force that drives people’s decisions, behaviors, and performances. Authentic leadership is not about rank, authority, or power; instead, it’s about the ability to guide people towards an ideal in good times and bad times.
People trust their leaders to make significant decisions, knowing that these decisions can affect their lives for better or worse. That is why strategic decisions and crisis responses are leader responsibility.
Demagogues are not Leaders.
History has shown us a good deal of inept leaders that wreck their organization health and manage to exit with generous financial packages. The assumption that all leaders are good decision-makers is a fallacy. Many of today’s leaders aren’t leaders at all; at best, they are managers or demagogues in power.
Have you ever worked for a leader that didn’t act rationally, sensibly, reasonably or emphatically? Most of us did!
“Never make a decision when you are upset, sad, jealous or in love.”—Mario Teguh
A demagogue is a leader that exploits people’s fears, inner desires, and wishes to advance his agenda at the expense of his people. If you worked for such a person, you probably worked for a demagogue that pretend to be a leader. A demagogue leader turns work into prison, hope into ashes, ambition into lethargy, a calling into a job that you grow to hate.
Demagogue’s managers are the antithesis of leadership as they destroy people confidence, and leave you twisted, broken and empty, rather than filled, happy, and confident.
These title leaders exist everywhere, and they are often viewed as totalitarian, rigid, strict, hard-headed, and self-serving leaders. Surprisingly, despite their inadequacies and sinful behaviors, these leaders are often forgiven by their superiors because they meet their numbers.
In most organizations, meeting your numbers often overshadow the long-term damage these leaders generate. These demagogue leaders have the authority, but no leadership skills. Hence, they shouldn’t be trusted with the autonomy of decision making.
Leadership is about building future leaders, healthy organizations, and better society. A great leader leads his people to impossible destinations that only exist in people’s imagination, minds, and hearts.
Leadership is all about stretching to reach further and further, and in the process of stretching, people better themselves, soar to new heights, courageously, defiantly with hearts full of hope and minds filled with creatives imagination.
A leader shows you how to transform what you view as a job into a career and transform your career into calling, by encouraging self-autonomy, independence of thought, creativity, and daring initiatives.
“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.”— Tony Robbins
We get to see good leadership in the way Richard Branson runs his business empire. His success story is the epitome of modern dream having gone “from the rock market to the stock market” He is viewed by many as a daring leader “explorer”, he takes chances, trust people to make mistakes, learn and get better, knowing that business success is created by people and for the people.
Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and many great leaders had made thousands of decisions, and some turn out to be great and others failed.
Decision making is what drives a company wealth and demise. Fortunes are built and lost that way. Most decisions are calculated bets, enrobed in strategy, and raw instinct. The probability of success is often a statistical dilemma that the future holds.
Think about the lost opportunity and poor decision making in these cases.
- A dozen publishers made the strategic decision that J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter series was not worth publishing because they predicted that it was going to be a failure. Wrong bet!
- Nokia decided not to enter the smartphone space. Wrong bet!
- Kodak has the first digital camera back in 1977 but focused on traditional film cameras. Wrong bet!
- Blockbuster turned down multiple offers to acquire Netflix.
- Excite could have acquired Google for less than $1 million.
- Grade-school math error costs NASA $125 million.
Leaders with excellent judgment take calculated risks to create, a better future, increase innovation, competitiveness and organizational success.
The 6 pillars of effective leadership and good judgment
Humility: many leaders suffer from the big-ego syndrome, occupying a high position means you ought to know more than your subordinates across disciplines. That’s absurd because a leader may be an expert in a narrow field, but may possess shallow or no knowledge in many vital areas.
That is why a leader needs to consult with experts and surround himself with competent people without isolating himself from the collective brainpower and experiences of lower-ranked subordinates— anyone can contribute a good idea, statues should not matter.
In the spirit of inclusion and harmony, all employees can and should contribute to the development of their leaders and the organization— betterment is a bidirectional process. Expertise doesn’t mean good decision making, and lack of knowledge shouldn’t be perceived as incompetence.
Under uncertainty, humility matters more than expertise, because it allows the leader to reach in all direction seeking guidance, wisdom, and perspective.
When you must base your decision making on collective experiences, emotional intelligence, and personal intuition, you are taking a bet. Humility allows the leader to celebrate collective wins and face losses with dignity.
Awareness: good leadership is all about knowing one limitations, biases, strength, and weakness. Knowing these areas is a start, the next step should be to identify the people that can help you on your areas of weakness and balance your biases and thought process during critical decision-making times.
As a leader, you are in charge, but ethical decision making should not be confined to your judgment alone. Surround yourself with smart individuals that can help you make well-thought-out decisions that serve the organization; it’s people and the society well.
Reflection: leaders recognize that some complex decision requires a good amount of thinking and reflection. Make it a habit to think on paper, after you listened to everyone, evaluate data and intelligence. Take a break to write your final decision and why you think it’s the best path.
It would be best if you were confident that no matter the outcome, you have tried your best and that your final decision was the best you envisioned along with your trusted advisors.
Thorough reflection allows you to cement your decision or forces you to consider going back to the drawing board.
Ownership: Recognize your mistakes and cut your losses early. Many leaders recognize that they made a mistake, yet because of ego or sunk-cost mentality, they let terrible decision linger rather than re-do the work.
Ironically, although the error is evident to everyone, the subordinate will continue to pretend to support it as long as the leader keeps avoiding reality.
Coachability: Leaders need to learn a ton to maintain momentum, grow, and perform. Good leaders accept their limitations and open to deliberate coaching sessions. When you are a decision-maker, your ego can lead you to believe that you ought to coach others rather than being coached.
Coaching allows you to stay humble, open, flexible, and adaptable. A coach provides you with positive and negative feedback, direction, and perspectives you may not be aware of.
Decisions are dynamic thoughts and thoughts create feelings that can lead to the right decision-making or the wrong one. A coach can help you challenge your beliefs, and by challenging your ideas, you can change the direction and outcome of your decision making. Being coachable means that you will increase your probability of winning rather than ending with a failed experience.
Integrity: A leader is trusted to make the best decision based on existing alternatives and risks associated. You would think that a leader would always behave in an ethical manner that promotes his organization interest, preserve his reputation, and make his subordinate proud.
Unfortunately, history has shown us that some leaders gamble everything in the pursuit of greed and self-aggrandizement. A good example would be Bernie Madoff, Kenneth Lay of Enron, Bernard Ebbers of WorldCom, Dennis Kozlowski of Tyco, Scott Thompson of Yahoo.
Today’s hyper-connected environment makes it easier to identify transgressions and bring violators to justice, but that doesn’t prevent the horrific damages that people have to suffer at the hands of these so-called unscrupulous leaders.
Leaders often get caught up in their own legacy, losing sight of the sacrifices that many men and women had to undergo to get them there.
Good leadership is all about being a role model that your successors want to emulate, and good decision making is the pillar of good leadership.
Good leadership requires that you walk in people shoes, with empathy, humility, gratitude, and a sense of service. A leader should think about how he can serve his people selflessly, by making the right decisions that are designed to improve people and organization lives, and where everyone benefits.
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