“If you’re making decisions, you’re not leading” sounds like incredibly counter-intuitive advice. Aren’t leaders supposed to be the ones who decide everything? Actually, those are called managers, and there’s a difference.
Photo by The Natural Step Canada
As business blog Inc. explains, leading the people around you doesn’t mean deciding everything for them. Managers are the ones who are supposed to answer the daily “How do I do this task?” questions. Being an effective leader, on the other hand, involves teaching others when they need it and getting out of their way when they have got this:
Ownership is the most powerful motivator in business, and the ability to make decisions is at the core of ownership. Stop solving and deciding for others. They are adults. They can do it themselves, and better than you could. Instead, ask questions, train others to make great decisions, and then get out of the way and let them do it. You, your company, and everyone who works there will all be better off if you do.
Inc. describes this in terms of running a company, but it can apply to many areas of life. Parents, for example, are leaders of their family, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to make every decision for your teenager. Anyone in a leadership position (whether formal or informal) will learn quickly that effective leadership means respecting the choices of the people who follow you more than simply making all their decisions for them.