"Will someone please make a decision" (add exclamation marks as needed)

The following is the original and the rewrite can be found by clicking here.

When I say "Will someone please make a decision", I am by no means suggesting that you should defer your destiny to someone else, diminish the need to take "the bull by the horns", not take ownership for your life, or any other pithy saying that reminds us it's our life - Our responsibility to grab on tightly and enjoy with gusto!

It's more directed to that somewhat important saying that reminds us that, "To know how to be a good leader, you need to know how to be a good follower". 

As someone who has been on both sides of this fence, I want to take a moment and offer a thought or two from the perspective of the follower... you know, the one asked to make it happen or follow the grand plan; the one who is looking to their leader to set a direction that can be executed on. And this brings us back to that simple request, "Will someone please make a decision"; admittedly sometimes also taking the form of a frazzled request, a statement, an urgent statement, a strongly worded statement or a wild eyed demand.

Where does this request come from? The simple answer is, "Nothing can get done without a decision being made"

For a follower (a doer, an executor, the fix it guy), this makes "needing a decision" very high on the list for getting things done; arguably its number one. There is an understanding that a process is required for decision making, that not all decisions are easy ones, and some decisions require time to make. However, this is not the reason you hear the words "will someone please make a decision" uttered. (With the appropriate number of exclamation marks added.)

In my experience, the reason for uttering these famous words is more often than not a result of (or combination of) the following:

  • There is no defined owner for the decision.
  • The decision making process has become more important than the actual decision.
  • The request for more information is never ending.
  • "Decision making" is viewed in absolute terms of right or wrong and not one of "degrees".
  • The culture does not encourage risk, empowerment or ownership.
  • There just seems to be too many people involved.
  • Lack of communication and transparency regarding what is happening.
  • There is a belief of "being safe", as you can't be wrong if you do not make a decision.

All these points made from the perspective of a "follower".

And this weaves us back to the saying, "To know how to be a good leader, you need to know how to be a good follower".  As a leader, appreciating the perspective of the follower, you can work to remove those barriers that are impacting your team's ability to get things done.

So with that said, every so often take a trip down memory lane and remember those times you found yourself uttering the words "will someone please make a decision" with flair... then ask yourself, "Is there someone on my team who may be saying the same thing?" If so, remember you can make some changes regarding that... after all you are the leader.

And if you are a follower... soon enough you may find yourself as the leader, so make sure you are taking good notes.