Do you know a successful leader who’s made bad decisions? The answer is almost certainly “yes.”
Decision making is a big part of leadership, and strong leaders pride themselves on their judgment and decisiveness. But even the best of them have made bad decisions at some point—and some of those mistakes were preventable.
Here are the top red flags that can warn you that you may be making a bad choice. Watch for them in your day-to-day decision making and if you see cause for concern, take some time to reconsider. No decision is without risk, but if you’re thoughtful and deliberate in your decision making, you’ll be right more often than not.
If you don’t ask for other opinions. Many leaders make the mistake of thinking they have to make decisions on their own. But especially when you’re faced with an important decision, it’s smart to seek out the counsel of others. Talking through the issues with someone you trust can bring clarity and new insights.
If you decide too quickly. We live in an age where everything seems to require an instant response. The need to make decisions on the fly can lead to mistakes even for the best leaders. Some situations require swift action, but whenever possible give yourself time to process and think.
If you don’t have all the information you need. The devil is in the details, as the old saying goes, and it’s hard to make a sound decision when you don’t have access to information you need. Carry out your due diligence and do your research. You can’t remove uncertainty from decision making, but you can minimize it by making informed choices.
If you only want to follow your gut. Many leaders pride themselves on following their gut instinct. For the best, those instincts are grounded in years of education and experience. For most of us, though, our instincts need backup. If all the evidence and facts point in one direction, and your gut disagrees, ask yourself if something else is at work—maybe denial, wishful thinking, or bias. In most situations where you’re facing a significant decision, trust your head more than your gut.
If you’re too emotional. As a leader, your decisions may be bold, but they also need to be rational. Decisions based on emotion and carried out in the fervent heat of the moment may feel good in the short run, but they aren’t likely to bring good results. Especially if it’s an important decision, take a break and slow things down. Buy yourself some time to quiet your emotions and think things through.
Making good decisions is not always easy, but heeding the warning signs can help keep you from making bad ones.
Lead from within: We all make choices, and in the end our choices make us who we are as leaders.
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The Leadership Gap
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After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.
This content was originally published here.