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How to Make the Best Decision When a Quick Decision Is Needed

As a leader, I am forced to make dozens of decisions every day. I’ve learned the secret to making better decisions faster.

When I’m pushed for a quick answer—when everyone knows a decision needs to be made now, but without time to get all the information I would normally require to make a decision …

I empower people on my team to make the decision.

Sometimes I simply don’t have enough information or enough time to gather it—even though by position the decision would normally be mine to make. It happens frequently enough that I need to have a plan for those occasions. It happened frequently when I first arrived in a new church, in a new position. But, it keeps happening. There are decisions that need to be made quickly, but I don’t know the parameters we need to make the best decision as well as others on the team.

I could slow down progress. I could micromanage. Instead I empower. That’s the secret.

In times like this, the people on our staff:

  • Have more knowledge about the issue than I have.
  • Usually have an opinion of what we should do.
  • Often hope I’ll answer the way they want me to.

In those times, I will ask a question, such as, “What do you think we should do?” or “Are you comfortable enough to put your name behind it?” or “What would you do if you were me?”

Then I go with their instinct—maybe even over my own.

But—and this is key if you truly want people to give you input—I let them know I will back them in the decision.

And—equally important …

I let them know they will be also held partially responsible for the outcome.

  • I’m still on the hook.
  • I’ll support them completely.
  • Ill stand fully behind them.

But I’ll follow their lead on the issue.

It grants them authority, it allows them to buy into the decision, it grows their leadership and it helps move the organization forward faster.

The principle:

If you want to lead people, you have to trust the people you lead and let them own decisions with you.

Are you trusting the people on your team, yet still holding them accountable?  

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Ron Edmondson is a pastor and church leader passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive, and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Ron has over 20 years business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner, and he's been helping churches grow vocationally for over 10 years.