Friday, March 11, 2011

The Marine Corps' 14 leadership traits - DECISIVENESS

DECISIVENESS is next up on our list of the 14 Marine Corps leadership traits, and in this case, it means, "... you are able to make good decisions without delay. Get all the facts and weigh them against each other. By acting calmly and quickly, you should arrive at a sound decision. You announce your decisions in a clear, firm, professional manner."

DECISIVENESS is basically the opposite of what I like to call "squishiness" or "wishi-washyness" ... which I use to describe people who can't make a decision and just hem and haw.

I've been the subordinate whose leader was indecisive, and it is definitely "no bueno" at all! Leaders who are indecisive do not inspire confidence in their subordinates, which can, in turn, lead to the subordinate questioning every decision the leader makes - something that is definitely NOT a good situation.

Over time, good leaders develop their ability to make timely and well thought out decisions, but it does take some experience, and usually a few bad decisions, to pave the way.

No matter what, once a leader makes a decision based on a set of facts and circumstances, they need to stick to it and see it through unless those facts and circumstances change.

Also, there's a time and a place for getting input from those around you, and there's most definitely a time and a place for just making what we call a "command decision". If one of your subordinates makes a command decision, you as a leader need to provide sufficient feedback afterward to ensure that subordinate grows. Part of our job as a leader is to groom and grow our subordinates to take our place.

Decisiveness isn't just making a quick decision and stubbornly sticking to it no matter what. The decisive leader can quickly evaluate all the information available and make a good decision based off that information. Then, they communicate that decision to relevant parties clearly and confidently.

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