I have 16 tattoos. 17 if you count the one that is buried forever beneath the snake and flowers on my left forearm. Various levels of thought have gone into each of them. Some, like the aforementioned snake and flowers were the result of months of sketching in my journal. Others, like the Annapolis tattoo on my left front bicep were just the result of conversations with my friend and tattoo artist, Kyle. Kyle knows me and my style and is a master at his craft. I showed up less than a week later and had the outline of a tattoo on my arm.
One of my strengths as a leader and a person is my ability to make a decision quickly and be satisfied with it. I believe many people are crippled in their leadership because any decision requires exhaustive contemplation. I seek a balance of consideration and agility in my leadership.
I think three things that prevent people from making quality decisions are ignorance, fear of failure and lack of trust.
Ignorance. In order to make a good decision, a person needs to be knowledgeable. The best decision makers have an insatiable thirst for information and they seek it. They don’t wait to be spoonfed; they hunt and they eat. Information provides the infrastructure for good decisions. With knowledge, you can formulate a clearer idea of the potential outcomes because you know about other scenarios. Ignorance comes from laziness and/or overconfidence (belief you know it all or that you are above information gathering). I am a student of the art of tattoos. I can’t create them, but I seek knowledge about them, how they are done, the different styles and techniques and the history of the artform.
Fear of failure. You can’t make a quality decision if you are living in fear. You will always hedge your bets and never give 100%. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have contingency plans. Contingency plans are plans that are engaged when your initial plan doesn’t work out. It is the plan B that only is engaged after you have fully committed to plan A. Plan B won’t work unless plan A has already been started and failed. It’s typically okay to fail. To prevent catastrophe, develop milestone plans. This way you can correct course if you are headed toward failure or have minor failures before you get to the end and realize you’ve totally bombed. Failure, does in fact lead to learning. I have a covered up tattoo on my left arm that needed improving. I intend to modify or remove the tattoo on my right wrist before moving on with that arm.
Lack of trust. I trust Kyle. I let him make most of the decisions on the final implementation of my tattoos. At church, I trust my musicians. I provide insight, but ultimately, I let them play the way they are best equipped to play. For the production team, there are areas where I have almost zero knowledge so I provide a vision for what the final product should accomplish and let my team implement it with excellence. Good leaders trust their team. Bad leaders try to do everything themselves.
Good leaders are both contemplative and agile. Are you?