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HOW LEADERS MAKE DECISIONS: The Main Determining Factors

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All through the 2015/2016 Premier League, Leicester City Football Club; a previous year’s relegation bound team kept impressing. At first, everyone considered it a fluke, as many mid-range teams in the past have acted like inexperienced marathon runners; racing so quickly at the blast of the whistle, but ending up in their usual positions when the time for endurance came. I too was one of the numerous doubters because I didn’t see how a sparsely known team without the usual megastar household names would be able to compete with the big money teams with all their world class players. Ten games gone, they kept going among the top; still, people doubted their ability to push on to the end. Gradually, as the games went on, and they maintained their drive, doubts started turning into disbeliefs. The first shocker was the aphorism of Leicester City making it into the Champions League. It was so unbelievable! They didn’t just achieve the unbelievable, they won the league. Leicester City FC; the 2015/2016 Premier League Champion!

As a thinker, I look beyond the conspicuous. While many looked at the players and manager, my focus was on the leadership. Leadership isn’t always seen on stage; they are mainly behind the scene, plotting and planning how their players can maintain their stay on stage or upstage those who dominate. These are good leaders; they are responsive and innovative with sharp cutting edge. As we have responsive leaders, it is evident that there are irresponsive ones. From results, you can determine who did his job and who didn’t. Whether good or bad, there are predominant factors that determine how leaders make decisions, and some of those forces are enumerated below.

Vision: every great leader the world has had, past or present, was a great visionary. Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Steve Jobs, Muhammad Ali, and many more were all visionaries. The ability to see tomorrow and prepare for it was their determination. Because of this determination, they were unconcerned about self, and gave everything to make sure that light shone on the future. I am not a board member of Leicester City FC, but it must have taken vision to achieve what they got with just a chance of 5000:1. And if they continue with that vision, soon, they will win the Champions League.

Every good leader shouldn’t live for today, how about tomorrow? As Pemberton mixed those ingredients, he saw Coca Cola a hundred years ahead and beyond. That was vision. As Steve Jobs sat down to look at Mac designs, he saw Apple after his death soaring higher than most digital outlays.

See beyond where you are; if you do, you will redefine your approach to life.

Perception: your perception is your conception. That is a fact! What is more factual is that perception can make or break. From wherever you stand, reflection determines the color you see. From the sky, the sea is blue, but in true sense, no water is blue. A man speaks based on what he sees; if he sees big, he acts big – his little action is based on his little sight.

Many leaders make decisions from the point of view of their perception, but perception, when it is wrong, destroys a hard work of a million years. Because of this, a second or third opinion is essential before final decision is made. Seeing with your eyes and that of others give a clearer picture of what a true identity is.

For Leicester City FC, it was “yes we can,” and they never doubted what they saw. While others were shaky, they knew there was nothing wrong with having a bogus dream. That dream was carefully passed into their blood stream by their manager who maintained a calm but smiling face as they progressed. From their blood stream, it went into their hearts and minds; they slept with it and woke up with it – everywhere they went, they went with their perception and with the perception, they decided to go for the trophy. When your positive perception determines your decision making process, you are bound to win.

Education: a leader doesn’t know everything and so, must learn quickly from those with the knowledge he lacks. Great leaders make decisions from quality information. You can’t run a team with an empty brain. When I say empty brain, I don’t mean you haven’t gone to school. If you don’t have the knowledge of your appointed role, you may be the best doctor, but still have an empty brain. Technicality alone doesn’t do it; you must understand how to manage people, and treat people like humans instead of animals. You must learn how to use empathy to persuade, and sympathy to convince. In spite of being a hard man, you must train to become emotional because one day, you will need it to make your followers abide by your instructions. When education goes with decision making, you can’t go wrong.

Personal Interests: bad leaders are experts in pursuing self agenda, and this reflects in their decision making processes. The end result of their decision is calamitous because they destroy with one bad move what has taken predecessors years to build. Personal interests promote the agenda of those that always say “yes” to everything without questioning the motives and destinations. No wonder many managers promote or recommend the promotion of subordinates who never question certain of their decisions and actions, and to those who do, they leave to languish on the same position till they get frustrated and leave the organization. Such managers ignorantly set themselves up for destruction.

Ovation: certain leaders don’t follow personal interests; what they do is make decisions that please everyone no matter how wrong it is. In a football game, your fans can make you lose if you simply play to impress them. What makes you win is scoring goals while at the same time, defending your post. Ball possessions without the goals take you nowhere. Leicester City FC didn’t give a hoot about who had the ball most; what they cared about was driving the ball through your net and making sure that you don’t do the same to them. Many leaders make decisions to please the public even if at the end of age, the public will become the end loser. They know the crowd is wrong, but they want the approval of the crowd, so they go for what is popular. Popularity sometimes kills; it has killed many, and more will die because of it. So, stand up for the truth; make wise decisions!

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Ken is a leadership Motivation, Strategy and Personal Development Writer, Blogger and Speaker. He writes for a number of magazines and blogs. He is also a mentor and published author of several books.

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