When we are not the one making the final call, it's easy to see things very clearly. It's easy to be a commentator on what the leader 'should' do. It's easy to offer our opinions and get annoyed when the leaders don't do it our way.
When I'm not the one making the final call...
it's easy to shout loud from the sidelines.
But something happens when we become the leader. Whether you become:
- a head of department in a school
- a parent
- the boss of your own business
- the head coach of a sports team
- a leader within your church
- a political leader
Something happens when we are the ones who have to make the final call - things get more complicated. What seemed like an easy call to make on the sidelines becomes... well, complicated.
The decision itself hasn't changed, but 2 other things have. Leadership is a privilege, and that privilege means...
1. YOU bear the Responsibility
Just how certain are you?
When a lot is at stake, our decisions get put under pressure. If you are on the sideline and your are 95% sure you are right - you shout loud - the decision is obvious! When you are the one making the final call, that 5% of uncertainty becomes HUGE. Not because the problem has changed but because YOU will bear the responsibility for the decision, you will have to give an account for the decision you made. The more that is at stake the more we question our own 'clarity'.
2. YOU live with the Consequences
An 'obvious decision' does not equal and 'easy decision'. The solution to a problem can be obvious in theory - but that solution may have hard consequences in reality, consequences that are painful to live with. When you aren't the one living with the consequences it is easy to see the 'obvious' part of the solution. When you make the final call, all of a sudden all you can see are the hard painful parts of the solution - then it doesn't seem 'obvious' at all.
Leadership is a funny thing. In another post we will think about lessons we can learn FROM the sidelines and lessons we need to learn ON the sidelines.