If your track up the management hierarchy at your organization has stalled, it might be time to review what you’re doing and saying around your employees and your bosses. Not everyone was born with natural leadership traits. But you can mimic some of those qualities to become an effective leader as Jeff Boss explains in a recent Forbes column.
One of the qualities Boss discusses in the context of good leadership is decision making. Employees who show the willingness to make decisions are the ones who also get the attention of senior managers. An organization can only move forward towards its goals if people are willing to make decisions so senior management needs leaders it can count on.
Many of us are afraid to make a decision in the workplace. What if it’s the wrong decision and things don’t turn out as we planned? We live in fear that certain people, especially our managers, will remember these mistakes. Unfortunately, for most of us, a perfect outcome isn’t achievable. The typical manager is usually faced with information that only allows her to make an educated guess at the outcome. A bad outcome isn’t the end of the world. Let’s face it, our decisions won’t usually result in the same kind of disaster that could befall the captain of a nuclear sub if she makes the wrong decision. Our decisions will usually be about which vendor to select or which project to spend more time on or which employee to give a bigger raise to.
You were put into your management position as a test. If you want to progress in your career, show the senior managers you know how to make decisions. Beyond making the obvious choices like vendor selection, you should also try to identify problems in your organization and propose solutions (a decision) to your boss. This strategic move shows you’re able to plan ahead, consider various options and that you’re also willing to take action and risks.
The other part of decision-making and leadership is showing your ability to bounce back from outcomes that didn’t turn out as well as you’d hoped. You should be able to explain to your bosses, without blaming others, what went wrong and describe what you will do next to improve the situation.
Demonstrating your ability to make decisions and live with the outcomes, both good and bad, shows senior management and your team members that you possess a valuable leadership quality which will help move the organization forward.