A Daily Dispatch from the Front Lines of Leadership.


Wise Exercise of Decision Rights

By the simple virtue of occupying a leadership role, leaders have decision rights. That is to say, at the end of the day, the leader can make the call without consulting others and without agreement by anyone not in the mirror. But the best leaders know that exercising decision rights is a surefire way of creating ill-will and resistance. 

People prize autonomy and most respect leaders who include them in decisions. Leaders who work at building consensus for a decision always benefit when it comes time for others to execute that decision. Unilaterally imposing a decision simply because you have the power to do so is a recipe for disengagement when others are asked to get involved with implementation. Unilateral decisions can pile up. 

Leaders who frequently exert their decision rights without discussion often scratch their heads when they then try to include others or engage their views. Once excluded, team members don’t trust that their ideas and opinions matter. So, they withdraw. 

The lesson is clear: Rarely use the decision rights you have. Use them as a last resort. Bring people along with your ideas and decisions as often as you can. You will find others respect you more for it.

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