Thursday, June 23, 2011


“Be willing to make decisions. 
That’s the most important quality in a good leader.”
~General George S. Patton
Read the quote above again. There is one very important point made in the quote and one very important implied point in the quote. 

First, General Patton states that making decisions is the most important quality in a good leader. Does this apply to you and me? Absolutely! We are all leaders of something – ourselves, our families, our businesses, etc. So it is important to make decisions.

Second, the statement says nothing about making perfect decisions (of which there are none). He simply says to make decisions.

There is power in being willing to make decisions.

Below are three keys to making solid decisions:

1. Decision-making is a skill.

Just like any skill in life, decision-making requires practice. The more we make conscious decisions and choices, the easier decision-making becomes.

We must choose to exercise this skill to become better.

2. Great leadership is not about making great decisions on your own. It’s about owning the decision once it’s made.

Lou Holtz has a great quote about owning decisions: “The time to worry is before you place the bet, not after you spin the wheel.”

List the pros and cons, take time to prayerfully consider which direction to take, and seek other’s advice, but make a decision. And once the decision is made, move forward.

You will make wrong decisions - but making wrong decisions is the only way to become better at making wise decisions.

3. Don’t overdramatize the decision-making process. A decision is a decision – nothing more, nothing less.

We oftentimes build up decisions to be life-or-death. Certainly, some decisions are more important than others. The way to process decision-making, however, is to look at life as a series of decisions.

If you make a poor decision and end up somewhere that you did not plan, then you make another decision. Take the pressure off of your decision-making process.

Are you a good decision maker? If not, why not? What is holding you back from being an intentional leader for yourself and others?

Question: How do you think one can become a better decision maker? Please leave comments below.


Jonathan Fulk said...

Great tips! It seems to me that many leaders like to please the crowd more than they like to make a decision. There is a cultural shift (consumerism?) that makes leaders want to defer to the people they are leading before making a decision. I'm all for grassroots movements, but at the end of the day, a movement needs a leader who can pull the trigger.

Jonathan Fulk said...

I should say, by the way, that I think a good leader should get opinions from the people s/he is leading and be sure to make decisions based on what is best for his/her followers. Still, that is no excuse to avoid decision making, and at times, the best thing for everyone may not be apparent to everyone at the time.

TNeal said...

Jason, you write well and you present good stuff for the reader. In the fall, I work with our local high school football program and we're going through a coaching change (I'll see by the end of the month if I still have my job). When I interviewed with the new head coach, I talked about how others complained that we didn't have any leaders among the players. I emphasized that we make leaders by giving them opportunities to make decisions and room to fail. Small decisions strengthen the ability to make good decisions. You're right on with this post.--Tom

Jason said...

Jonathan and Tom,
Thanks for the comments. Jonathan, I love the quote: "A leader is someone who you will follow to a place that you wouldn't go alone." We need decisive leaders.

Tom, no doubt that the only we become better decision-makers is to make decisions (and then make another decision, etc.). It is a learning process. Thanks!