Making All The Decisions

Gerwig 2015-04-15

Do you have a juicer? In recent years, juicing has become popular as a means to a healthy lifestyle. There are books, blogs, and infomercials on juicing. You can even get your hands on “miracle” juice recipes with a few clicks—recipes that will cure everything from hair loss to insomnia.

I admit it. I juice. Not every day, but several days a week. Sometimes I juice. Sometimes I make smoothies or “shakes.” Yes, I have a couple spinach and kale based green smoothie recipes but I also have a few simple recipes. For example, I like taking a couple grapefruits and a lemon, dropping them into the Vitamix with some water and ice. It produces a tart, refreshing, and cleansing breakfast drink.

The grapefruit pictured above will soon turn into a breakfast drink. But an often overlooked thing, an activity, one can do with fruit is “juggle.” Whenever I see fruit in a bowl or on the counter or in the grocery store, I’m tempted to pick up two or three pieces of fruit and start juggling. While I’m not a great juggler, it always puts a smile on my face to try.

When I was playing baseball in high school, I started juggling when we were not in the field. While waiting my turn to bat, I’d take 2 or three balls and start juggling. Over time, I became a very average juggler, meaning that I can juggle better than the common person but worse than the average juggler. Regardless, I do it for fun. And when an orange or apple that I’ve dropped is rolling across the kitchen floor, I can’t help but laugh. Ok, I’ve got a simple and warped sense of humor. I admit it.

Unfortunately, there are some people who are juggling balls unnecessarily at work or home. These dysfunctional leaders feel they have to make all the decisions versus trusting those in their organization to make decisions as appropriate. World-class leaders know that you need to hire and develop a great team of leaders who are competent in their decision-making ability. But the dysfunctional leader who makes all the decisions will find themselves juggling balls, fighting for work-life balance, and leading an organization of undeveloped talent.

And here’s how it usually happens: The dysfunctional leader questions a decision you made. So the next time, you take the information, data, and inputs to the dysfunctional leader so they can make the decision. Why? They’re going to make the decision anyway. Why have them overturn a decision you made? Why not go to them to start with? Remember, behavior is a function of consequences. So whether it takes one or two overruled decisions (or a lengthy confirmation of a decision you’ve already made) for you to change your behavior, you’ll soon learn that it’s not your place to make decisions.

And your colleagues will learn the same thing. And the dysfunctional leader will wonder why he’s juggling so many balls, why no one is making decisions, why the team isn’t growing, why he’s working so hard, and has no work-life balance. No one is empowered and the dysfunctional leader has become the organizational bottleneck.

If you’re the “boss,” remember that it’s ok to review and understand the rationale behind key decisions, but there are hundreds or thousands of decisions made by your team every week. Do you want to make them all? Review them all? Wouldn’t you rather hire good people, reinforce the correct/desired behaviors (including good decision-making), develop your team, achieve success and enjoy some work-life balance? Of course you would.

So stop trying to make all the decisions. Set clear goals, reinforce good decisions/behavior, and then do it again. Over and over. You’ll find that you’re not juggling so many balls. You’ll find that your team trusts you. You’ll find that your team grows and develops.

How about you? Do you feel the need to make decisions for other people? Are you hindering their growth? Are you adding to your stress by juggling unnecessary balls.

As always, the floor is open to your comments, suggestions, thoughts, and feedback.

Dr. is an agent of change and is able to balance the needs of the business and the needs of people. Dr. Gerwig believes and practices the values of performance and delivery of business metrics while simultaneously developing and growing people into leaders. You can contact him at RobertGerwig[at]


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