the great dictator.When it comes to leadership, no matter how much a leader may seek the valuable input from their village, at the end of the day, the final decision, regardless of the matter at hand, is the leader’s all alone.  This fact makes for interesting management of the decision-making process.  To be sure, leaders have different styles of leadership and management that they employ throughout their careers … in fact, even throughout any given business day.  Some leaders are inclusive and seek input from as many people as possible, while others retreat to their offices to individually contemplate the best course of action.  Leaders realize that the buck stops with them and regardless of the outcome, they own the result.

One thing that leaders must learn, especially those that lean toward an inclusive style, is that they are, as with George W. Bush’s nickname, the “decider”.  While they are happy to solicit thoughts and input from others, they must be comfortable with the fact that not everyone will be pleased with the final decision.  But they are not in friendship positions, they are in leadership positions.

A leader’s ultimate responsibility is to the best interests of the business not to any individual or group within the organization.  Of course, ideally, leaders want to be both respected and liked.  However, ultimately leaders must live by the expression “it is better to be respected and not liked than to be liked and not respected.” This is what I mean by “democratic dictatorship”. The success of a leader is in the making of decisions and successfully achieving outcomes or as Jim Estill succinctly states, “Successful People Do Tough Things” — even (or especially) the most democratic of dictators.

Nina Nets It Out: Be sure to understand your role as a leader and always know who your primary responsibility is to.  Don’t fall victim to trying to please all the people around you, as this will ultimately lead to an unachievable expectation.  While asking for input is often beneficial, the final decision and its repercussion is yours and yours alone.