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How to Be a Decisive Leader

Adding value to your organization in a leadership role largely depends on your ability to make decisions without waffling or wavering. Supervisors and managers gain respect from their direct reports by confidently asserting their authority without showing signs of dictatorship. Your leadership skills may not be enough, however. Hone your functional expertise and use communication and sound business principles to illustrate your ability to lead teams. Engage your direct reports so that they trust your ability to make decisions in the best interest of your employees as well as the department and overall organization. 1. Claim your role as a competent, credible and trustworthy leader. This is fundamental to establishing yourself as a decisive leader, which is what employees look for in a supervisor or manager. Demonstrating your expertise, as well as building employees' confidence in your abilities and qualifications, will result in your decisions being better-received than a leader whose direct reports don't respect their supervisor's position. Establishing your competencies means that you demonstrate the functional expertise necessary to direct your department functions. Being credible and trustworthy means you follow through on actions and follow up your interaction with employees as promised.

2. Exercise sound judgment. Good decision-making skills are based on both your leadership skills and your ability to exercise sound judgment in the performance of your job duties. Sound judgment entails reserving your conclusions until you have sufficient facts and not making snap judgments without solid information. Prudence also means you conduct your own research instead of relying on others' statements to resolve workplace issues. 3. Delegate tasks and responsibilities to employees based on your knowledge of their qualifications, expertise and interests. Insist that the tasks and duties you assign are done according to performance standards, but don't micromanage employees. Micromanaging employees suggests you aren't quite sure about their skills or that you don't trust them to perform their jobs according to performance standards. Leaders who micromanage often are feared by employees who sense their leader will always find fault in their job performance and change the way employees should perform their job functions. 4. Make choices based on your level of authority, experience and functional knowledge. Show respect for your employees' input, but refrain from using employees' input to make decisions for you. You'll be viewed as too pliable and easily influenced if you don't assert your position and status as a primary decision-maker. 5. Admit your shortcomings and be open to learning from your employees. Supervisors and managers aren't perfect; however, if you're honest with employees about your shortcomings, they'll realize that when you do take decisive action, it's because you're sure of your actions. Balance your shortcomings with confidence -- constantly admitting that you're not perfect doesn't add to your humanness. It conveys a message that you're not a confident leader. Charismatic leadership is what you should strive for, which combines your ability to both lead and learn from others.


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