Effective Leaders Make Decisions

A major part of being a leader is making decisions. In fact, some would say that it is key to being a leader because a leader’s role is to make decisions for others and then lead them forward towards wherever that decision takes them. As a leader, I am sure you sometimes make a bad mistake here and there, but you must not let that get you down, keep pressing on and keep leading.

making-choices-trees-in-the-pathWe all make small decisions every day. We decide if we will wear a blue shirt or red one, if we will eat at one restaurant or another, or if we will have one cup of coffee or two. These all seem like easy decisions because you have probably made them before, you have already considered the benefits of another cup of coffee and the only factor left is if you have time for it or if the coffee is already made. When you have a harder decision, it is usually harder only because you have not had to make that kind of decision before, or because you have not really considered the benefits and costs fully.

Decision making is something that takes time to work at and practice. You practice making decisions, and sometimes you make great decisions, and other times you do not. When you make a bad decision, you must learn from it, and then move on. A mentor once told me that decision making is something that you will always need to work at and practice, and it will become easier, but never easy.

I can remember one business class I had in college where the professor told us that all he wanted us to learn in that class was how to make good decisions. Everything we did in that class was aimed at helping us become better decision makers. It really was more of a transformational leadership class than a business class, but it has helped my leadership and decision making skills in many lasting ways.

So where are you at today? Do you avoid making decisions? Or maybe you are a fairly decent decision maker? No matter where you are, you must remember this; making good decisions takes practice, so get out there and start practicing, and soon your leadership and even life, will benefit from better decisions .

As a final note, if you are facing a big decision, it is imperative to include God in that decision. He knows the answers and he is willing to guide you. So rely on Him and his expertise in decision making to help you make better decisions.

photo by Rickydavid

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Effective Leaders Remain Accountable

A leader must remain accountable in order to stay on top of being a leader, and follower of Christ.

A leader must remain accountable in order to stay on top of being a leader, and follower of Christ.

Photo by alles-schlumpf

When you think of accountability, you often think of a leader keeping others accountable. That’s one of their roles as a leader right? Well this is true, but a leader also has the responsibility to keep him or herself accountable.

There are two areas a leader needs to remain accountable in: first, they should hold themselves to the same standards as everyone under them: and second, they should recognize their own need to have someone who keeps them on track and accountable for their actions.

As a leader, whenever you set rules or regulations, you must be the first to follow them. It both sets an example for others to follow, and shows that you are really serious about the guidelines that you have set.

I can think of one situation I was in where a leader said one thing, but did another.  I was volunteering for a camp and one of the leaders for the camp told me, and a group of other guys, that we could only have one snack per day. Now, there was an entire room that had tables covered with snacks that had been donated for volunteers, yet for whatever reason, we were not supposed to have more than one a day. This would have been annoying, but OK. However, that leader proceeded to ignore her own rule, and have more than a few snacks per day. That aggravated me and many other volunteers and certainly did a lot to undermine that leader’s character and authority. I am sure you have encountered a similar situation where a leader set standards that they themselves could not or would not follow. So when you are leading, and setting rules, be the first to follow them. And if you cannot, then you think twice about whether they are good guidelines or rules for your group.

Secondly, a leader must remain accountable for their actions. One of the best ways to do this is to have an accountability partner, coach or mentor who is involved in your life and can recognize areas you are slacking especially if they are character areas.  Buddy is on the board of an organization that does not even spend $500 without the approval of the board.  This creates great accountability for leader and engenders confidence in the rest of the people involved in the organization.

Finally make sure that you are really being honest with others in these situations.  Some parents discipline lying that most because if you are OK with lying all other sins become possible.  If you are not honest with the people in your life accountability becomes a game just like everything else.  If you haven’t been honest with someone in your life, go back and apologize and start over and work at being honest with everyone important in your world.

If you do not have someone who keeps you accountable, consider talking with someone who has a similar leadership position or a friend who is not directly involved in your organization. It can be a mutual accountability, or one way, but the key is to make sure you have someone who will keep you on track, both with your organization and with God.