In my last blog, I wrote about the power of acting or making decisions in the day to day life of a business and I stated that I thought this was the most critical aspect of real leadership to force action versus ongoing debate on issues/opportunities. Then this past week I was participating in a meeting where I was not the one who had the authority to make the decision and another important attribute that drives this decision making process became so clear to me as I observed the leader in charge of this session. I truly felt bad for this leader because he was listening to some emotional input from a meeting participant that was real rubbish! Then it dawned on me that a leader has to ask TOUGH QUESTIONS to expose the facts versus weak opinions.
I believe the tougher the questions the more it will not only expose the real critical facts for decision making but it will motivate those attending a meeting or discussion on issues to come prepared with facts not just opinions. As I discussed last week, ongoing discussions and meetings without timely decisions can really hurt business performance, caused missed market opportunities and demoralize a team. However, a poor decision by a leader because they listened to someones opinion who dominated the conversation/meeting without asking tough questions to validate the inputs can cause an equal amount of damage if not more.
In every organization, the really strong people want to participate in the decision making process and they are willing to work hard to help that process. They want the leader to make a decision that is not only timely but that is responsible with clear direction and action on the issue/opportunity. As a leader you can not make that kind of decision and really utilize the best people if you fail to ask tough questions to drive preparation, separate opinions from real facts and separate the people who are focused on helping from those who just want to drive their own agenda.