Leader’s Decisions: Integrity and Ownership

In the challenge of leadership, the words we choose not only reflect our intent but also shape the trust and understanding within our teams and organizations. This blog delves into a personal experience of decision-making, illustrating key principles from LeaderWork’s philosophy. It’s about making choices with integrity, owning them, and the powerful impact this approach has on effective leadership.

Last week, I found myself at the crossroads of a challenging decision-making process. A decision was handed down to me, one which I only half agreed with. This is a common scenario in leadership, where choices aren’t always black and white, and sometimes, the weight of decision falls on our shoulders, even when we’re not entirely in agreement.

After much contemplation, I aligned with the decision for several valid reasons. When it came time to communicate this to my team, I was met with resistance. Here’s where LeaderWork’s principles really came into play. I listened, I empathized, but then I firmly stated, “While I appreciate your input and will always listen to your concerns, this decision is made. Here are the reasons why, and now, we need to unite to ensure its success.”

Saying anything else, like “we have to” or “I have been directed to” implies a lack of personal and social power, which will destroy confidence in the leader. It also subtly indicates a mismatch between the leader’s intent and the decision as well as an unwillingness to do the hard work of processing decisions. This can erode a leader’s authority, accountability, and the team’s motivation. Instead, I chose to say, “This is my decision,” a phrase that exemplifies LeaderWork’s emphasis on adult-to-adult communication. This approach not only conveys a sense of ownership but also demonstrates a thoughtful, deliberate choice. It is also important to be ready to say “I was wrong” and change direction if conditions warrant it.

After announcing the decision, my popularity took a hit. Yet, by the end of the day, several team members approached me, expressing gratitude for my honesty and directness. They appreciated the hard truth over a sugar-coated narrative. This moment underscored a crucial lesson: people respect and respond better to straightforward, honest leadership.

Leadership isn’t about making universally popular decisions; it’s about making decisions with integrity and owning them. It involves being prepared to admit when we are wrong and having the courage to stand by our choices while remaining open to influence and change. This approach, rooted in LeaderWork’s principles, cultivates a culture of accountability, trust, and mutual respect. As leaders, our words and actions set the tone. By embracing decisiveness and transparency, we not only guide our teams effectively but also foster an environment where integrity is the cornerstone of every decision we make.

About the Author

Paul Doyle
Paul Doyle is the founder of LeaderWork. He brings more than 35 years of diverse business experience, including 15 years as a CEO, leading manufacturing companies. Paul has been active in North America with companies ranging from $20 million to $450 million in revenue.