Sunday, June 28, 2009

What is the Most Important Decision?

What are the most important decisions you make as a leader of your organization? asks Michael Smith of ClearView Baptist Church in Franklin, Tennessee1. Every leader ends up making decisions that impact the whole organization. If you happen to be the President, your decision might mean the death of thousands. I, fortunately, have never been faced with such momentous decisions. In my opinion, the most important decision I have ever made involves whether I should make an executive decision about something or take it before the group. How you address that issue is fundamental to your view of leadership.

The basic question is do you see your role as a leader as being the primary decision maker or as one who enables others to be the decision makers? Do you have enough confidence in your people’s abilities to allow them to make the decisions or do you believe there things that are too important to risk it? Is it the leader’s role to make the big decisions and leave the details to the workers, or is it the leader’s role to provide the group with the information they need to make the big decisions and to do what it takes to keep them from being weighted down with minor decisions.

But Jesus called them to Him and said unto them, “Ye know that they that are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you shall be your minister, and whosoever of you would be the chiefest shall be servant of all.” – Mark 10:42-43

My basic view of leadership is that the group as a whole is more qualified to make decision than I am as an individual. It may be that I am the most qualified individual, but when we consider the collective abilities of the group, I cannot compare. As a leader, it then becomes my responsibility to ensure that the group has the information it needs to assess the situation can make a decision. When a group has all of the information and they have leaders who instruct them in what is right and good, the group is more likely to make the right decision than a leader acting alone. When the group is a group of Christian, acting under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, then they are even more likely to do the right thing.

I can think of two reasons why a leader would refuse to allow the group to make the decision. One is when the group is not aware of all the facts. There are some situations in which making everyone aware of the facts could be dangerous (as in the case of national security) or could be improper (such is the case with some family situations). In the case of homes, the children may not be mature enough to understand the facts and thus the parents must make the decisions.

The other reason a leader might refuse to allow a group to make a decision is because he is lifted up with pride. Because of his position, he sees himself as being more qualified to make decisions or may be he is afraid that if he allow the group to make the decisions people will place someone else in his position.