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Essential Leadership: Take Risk. Make Decisions. Keep Ego in Check

By Michelle Ray – Change, Communication and Leadership Speaker

Leadership & Personal accountability speaker Michelle Ray at The Sweeney Agency Speakers Bureau

Are you are leader who is comfortable taking risks, making decisions and keeping your ego in check? Great leaders possess the ability to harness these attributes at the appropriate time. Of course, not all decisions have equal weight or quality. The same is true in an array of circumstances that require leaders to evaluate the degree of risk in order to decide the best course of action. Effective leaders are aware of their options and circumstances in order to make the optimum decision while being mindful of when and how to seek input.

In their book Crucial Conversation: Tools for Talking when The Stakes are High, authors Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzer identify four ways to make the most productive decisions: Command, Consult, Vote and Consensus.

Leaders are constantly assessing business indicators as part of their risk assessment and decision-making processes. Some situations require leaders to act quickly without consultation. The “command” decision-making approach would be apropos when an organization may be facing a crisis, either internal or external. In these circumstances, the need to make an immediate decision is imperative. The fact that there is no time for consensus isn’t good or bad…it is the appropriate course of action.

Patterson, Grenny, McMillan and Switzer note that the “command” decision-making style may also be used by entrusting an individual with the task of making the final decision based on his or her acumen. In such cases, where teams are robust, people are prepared to “follow the leader” who has the appropriate acuity to make high-level decisions.

When decisions are made by consultation, a leader recognizes the value of receiving input and allowing others to share their points of view. While the leader may still get to make the final call on major decisions, this collaborative style of decision-making helps the leader choose more wisely. This inclusive approach, particularly In today’s digital age, also contributes to higher levels of engagement and motivation.

As leaders are charged with making the most informed decisions possible, choosing from a variety of options can be challenging. In order to achieve the desired result and best use of collective energy, the “vote” process can also be a beneficial decision-making tool. Ideally, the leader has established that a high level of endorsement already exists amongst the voting group for any of the options.

For some leaders, the most challenging aspect during any decision-making process is reining in his or her ego. For example, if you wish to achieve buy-in to your decision, consensus will be your best option. By gauging the level of acceptance, or “taking the temperature” of receptivity, you need to be prepared to let others speak, even if you do not agree with their ideas. The same can be said for collaborative decision-making. A leader who can keep his or her ego in check when soliciting opinions will not only garner more support but also strengthen working relationships for long-term success.


About Michelle Ray

Born in Australia and now residing in Vancouver, Canada, leadership expert, Michelle Ray is an award-winning speaker and founder of the Lead Yourself First Institute. Michelle began her career in the media industry with one of Australia’s leading broadcasting networks. She worked her way up the management ladder and was responsible for the sales revenues of 25 radio and television affiliate stations. She was subsequently hired by one of the world’s largest cinema advertising contractors to lead the company’s sales team and was also responsible for successfully generating record–breaking revenues during a severely depressed economic climate.


To Learn more about Michelle Ray contact [email protected]

Derek Sweeney is the Director of Speaker Ideas at The Sweeney Agency. www.thesweeneyagency.com. For 15 years Derek has been helping clients find the right Speakers for their events. Derek can be reached at 1-866-727-7555 or [email protected]


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