I wonder how many aspiring leaders would have had the courage to make a decision like Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks did, when he bypassed the “beast” at the one yard line on the biggest stage in professional sports – the Super Bowl. You have to be pretty comfortable in your own skin to make that decision as a leader! Could you have done it? Would you have done it?
How could you compare your everyday to such a large stage? A leader can take charge of a moment. A leader can evaluate the playing field. A leader can accentuate the positive frame when engaging his team. Yet a leader who is not decisive may not achieve the best results.
Could you have done it? What would you have needed to feel secure enough to make a comparable decision on your largest stage, while under the lens a high powered microscope?
Confidence comes to mind. A leader has to be confident not only about himself, but also about his team and their skills. The team also needs to be confident in,and trust, their leader. With the Seahawks, the team did their best to execute the final play. There was no second guessing. There was no half hearted effort. Clearly, the team was aligned confidently with its leadership.
How do you become confident in your ability to lead and make decisions? Experience plays a huge role. We get better at making decisions, especially those in our area of excellence,after we’ve made a few that end in both success and failure. Often times our best lessons come from our failures and miss steps along the way.Every experience is a learning opportunity – analysis of failure is just as important as success.
But what if you don’t have experience? There are times when more is expected from us than our experience provides. Imagine it’s your first “Super Bowl” with a young, fresh-out-of-college team. Even though both you and your team are lacking experience, you still need to do your best to lead them to victory. To give your team the best shot, you would seek the counsel and support of well-seasoned, veteran assistant coaches. Even though we aren’t all professional head football coaches, the people guiding us on the sidelines can help make us make the tough decisions presented to all leaders. This is how a support group, mentor, coach, or trusted ally could be a wise investment. We don’t always realize what we don’t know until we need to know it. Investing in your own self awareness will create even greater dividends than just the salary increase that comes with climbing the corporate ladder.
Does your decision still seem too big to make? We can learn a good lesson from Jim Rohn, a highly successful man who came from average means to discover his fortune… “It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you get off on sometimes. What matters most is getting off. You cannot make progress without making decisions.” Decide to be decisive. Grab that veteran to help you make the tough calls – that’s what makes you the leader and not the follower.
Learn to lead. Be decisive in the process and let the learning shine from each experience.