Today, a quotation about leadership. While I’m not sure I agree with it 100% in all situations, it is well worth thinking about, especially when considering the source. So read on, ponder it yourself with the questions and action steps, and then read my additional comments at the bottom.
“The best leaders collect information widely, listen to everybody, and then decide by themselves.”
– Edwin Bearss (1923-) American Civil War Historian
Questions to Ponder
– How much information do you collect?
– Are you consistently scouring new info, or waiting until you “need” it?
– Do you listen to others before making decisions?
1. Collect information as widely as possible – recognizing that information can provide new perspectives.
2. Ask others for their opinion.
3. Be decisive. There is a decision you need to make today, so make it.
Think about the perspective of a Civil War historian who would be judging leadership based on military leaders in battle. Given that perspective, his quotation makes total sense. And . . .
We may not always be in battle or crisis, so we might want expand on the wisdom in this quotation just a bit. Truth: People want leaders who are decisive, and people want leaders who include them in decision making, at a minimum by getting their input. That covers the first two ideas in today’s quotation. But there is a third part too: “decide by themselves” – is that what we should do?
Depending on the scope of the decision and the time available to make the decision, you might want to engage others beyond just their opinion to include them in the decision making process itself. Yes, you might, in the end, make the final call, but when possible, include your team not just in data collection, but in the decision making process, too.