The Decision Trap


Making decisions is one of the toughest things you do as a leader.  And yet making wise decisions is at the core of good leadership.

If you make decisions too slowly, you frustrate your team.  If you make decisions too hastily, you may make an unwise or uneducated decision.

It’s the decision trap.

And learning to master the trap is the mark of a good leader.

I talk with leaders all the time who feel the constant pains of being “the bad guy”.  The buck stops with you and you have to make the tough decision.  A lot of times the tough decision is not the popular decision.  But it’s a decision that needs to be made none-the-less, and since you seat in the leader’s seat, congrats you’re the big winner!

Here are a few things I keep in mind when facing a tough decision:

1) It’s Your Job. Dodging decisions is not an option.  If you accepted a leadership role, you assumed the responsibility for the good and the bad that come with it.  “To whom much is given much is required” (Luke 12:48)

2) God Will Equip You. If you were following God’s lead in assuming the responsibility that you have, remember that He has placed you there and “he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

3) Pray. Don’t make decisions without covering them in prayer, especially tough decisions that affect others.  You aren’t omniscient.  Seek the One who is.

4) Don’t Drag Your Feet. Once you have a sense of the decision that needs to be made, make it.  Don’t waste time.  You’ll just frustrate yourself and others in the process (and potentially lose some influence.)

5) Seek Counsel. Find trusted friends and advisors that you can go to when big decisions are weighing on you.  Don’t make decisions in isolation.

6) Be Confident. If you have covered your decisions in prayer and sought wise counsel, step confidently into the decision.  Those you lead can sense your confidence or lack of it.  They will follow you in direct proportion to the level of confidence they sense from you.

Now if I could just get this right 🙂

How do you navigate tough decisions?

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  • Marni January 12, 2011  

    The first thing I do is pray, and think on the situation I need to make a decision on. I usually then filter things through my husband when I have a very tough decision to make – his gift of discernment is just amazing. I then discuss things through with my assistant leader…and if need be, I will go to my coach and/or accountability partner. That is about as far as I go if I have a pressing challenge that I am seeking proper insight to – but I always start off with prayer; and I keep it all within a tight circle of godly people that I trust will be open, honest and transparent with me to help me through moments when I am just uncertain about a decision needing to be made.

    Thanks for a great post today! 🙂

  • Christina Ludwick January 12, 2011  

    Oh Jenni, thank you SO much for your honesty and wisdom in this post! I get trapped in this so often, and most times just procrastinate until either a.) someone else makes the decision or b.) the decision becomes so necessary I do it in haste. Happy to know that I’m not the only one who struggles with this. 😉

  • Brian French January 13, 2011  

    Love the honesty at the end statement. This is hard to implement especially when you are dealing with the expectations and emotions of other people.