On occasion, leadership can be a very lonely place. Leaders need to embody many personalities, and it can be necessary to make a difficult decision that separates you from the rest of the organization. On the other side, there are times where a leader will reside on an “island” because they feel they are the most important person within the organization. They feel the leadership position they have been given grants them the latitude to make all of the decisions without input from others.
Unilateral decision-making can be a very damaging practice for a leader. I am not speaking of the occurrences when a leader must make a decision without consulting others within the organization. I am talking about the leader who believes their own hype and feels as if they are clearly the smartest person in the whole organization. They have this feeling of infallibility and all of their decisions are always going to be the best decisions – just ask them!
This type of leader does not gain the confidence of their organization. If a leader sits in his or her office and fires off directives without getting any input from anyone, how can they truly understand what is going on in the organization? I have always been a big advocate of open channels of communication and transparency. If you want to know how a decision may impact your organization, go out and speak with those directly affected. Many of us have made the mistake in believing we know what is best for our organization since we are the leader. However, that type of egotistical attitude can get us into trouble. Your team members will be less likely to open up to you if you choose to ignore them and just do what you want to do. This type of decision-making also evokes a sense of distrust. People are often curious why and how their leader comes to a decision that will impact them. Making unilateral decisions on a regular basis can lead your team to wonder what you might be hiding, even if your actions are not nefarious.
Leadership is all about working and communicating with your team, not setting sail for your own private island.