Here is my dilemma. Does a good leader make many decisions or few decisions? That seems like an odd question yet what I have been trying to do is lead the organisation for which I am responsible to a position where decisions are made in the right place. To me that is as close to the customer or to the problem as possible.
As Tolstoy said in War and peace, ‘Kutuzov only replied that movements arranged from a distance were always difficult to execute.’
The problem this gives me though is when I do not make decisions I can come across as indecisive (naturally) and weak whereas when I do the opposite I can come across as autocratic and controlling. I’m not sure this is a position from which I can win. I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t.
You see the issues for me is twofold. Firstly, the job of a manager is not to make decisions but to get decisions made. If this were not true, then the number of managers we need would be dependent upon the number of questions and this is something we never measure. Secondly decisions need to be made by the person who has the best expertise in the subject, or at least the best available and when it comes to ICT there are many better placed within my team.
So the paradox is that when I do not make decisions I am actually being decisive and strong as I am sticking to my principles and when I do the opposite I am taking the easy route and copping out.
My indecision is borne of decisiveness.
Perhaps what is needed is a bit more clarity. I need to spell out those decisions that I am prepared to make and those which I will not. My decisions need to be around strategy and direction rather than operations or tactics and of course I will need to make some decisions where there is disagreement.
The answer is probably that a good leader makes the decisions when appropriate.