Making the Tough Call

istock_000018834459xsmallDecision making is a big part of a leaders job. Some decisions are easier than others. Many can be made as a team, but sometimes the leader has to make the call.

I would prefer to always make people happy, but there are times it’s just not possible to please everyone AND make the best decision for those you are responsible for.

Tough Decision Making:

1. Slow down the decision.
I am often tempted to go with my gut. Sometimes I feel like I just know what we should do, and I want to take action and make it happen. I’ve learned to recognize when I’m in that mode and slow everything down.

Rarely do I make a great decision when I react too quickly. I communicate and implement the change so much better when I slow down and follow a more thorough process.

2. Think about what’s best long term.
I try not to get too overwhelmed by the immediate consequences and instead think through what will matter six months from now or a year from now. Can I make a decision now that will move us toward a desired future? If I don’t make the call will I be stuck in the same place six months from now?

3. Gather all of the information.
I’ve learned to ask a lot of questions and listen thoroughly to both sides of the issue. Often I have been swayed in what I originally thought we should do because I gained important information and insight to the decision.

There is nothing worse than standing up to communicate an unpopular decision and then have important information come to light. I go on a quest to hear everyone out whenever it’s possible.

4. Weigh out the consequences.
It’s the simple evaluation of what happens if we do and what happens if we don’t. What is at stake? If I avoid or ignore this decision, what will happen? If we implement this change tomorrow, what can I expect?

5. Evaluate what is best for the people involved.
This step often brings clarity and helps me solidify what we should do. I find it easier to make the tough call if I feel like I’m ultimately doing what is best for the kids, parents, people we are trying to reach, or the team.

I love being a leader. I wouldn’t want any other job. But there are times when it’s not fun.

One of my consistent prayers is for wisdom. Trying to make tough decisions without asking God to make things clear and guide you is a big mistake. When your team sees that you don’t make big decisions lightly – that the responsibility weighs heavily on you, they will trust you and support you, even if they don’t love the decision.

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