Whose Decision Is It?

Victor was staring at the floor, head cupped in both hands. “What a stupid decision.” He was quiet. I was quiet. Silence can do a lot of heavy lifting.

Finally, he continued. “I want to involve my team in decision making. But when we take a vote, they often make the wrong decision. As their manager, I feel like a heel, going against their vote. But I don’t want to let them do something stupid and waste a bunch of time.” He lifted his head.

“Victor, first, do not let them vote. Between you and your boss, who is accountable for this decision?”

“Well, I am,” he said.

“If you are held accountable for the decision, then you have to make the decision. You can involve your team, ask them for input, but you are the manager, the decision is yours to make. Here is what this sounds like to your team.

“Hey, Team. As your manager, I have a decision to make. This is an important decision and will have an impact on every team member here. So, I want to you to help me consider all the angles. After I consider your input, I have to make this decision. When I do make this decision, I will need your support and your full efforts to make this happen. So, who has the first idea?

“Victor, understand, people will support a world they help to create, even if it is not totally their idea. You should involve them, but the decision is yours. And you will be the person I hold accountable.” -TF

3 thoughts on “Whose Decision Is It?

  1. Slarty

    I love this line, it contains lots of wisdom:

    “Silence can do a lot of heavy lifting.”

    Early in my company’s history, I felt that everyone should be given equal weight in making decisions. As it has grown, it becomes more and more obvious that that is not the case. I do, however, think it is important to give the people the feeling that they are contributing to the decision. Oligarchy is not my style.

  2. Tom Foster

    Getting the team involved in decision is more than just giving them the feeling. While the manager is responsible for the decision, the feedback and insights from the team are critical to the quality of that decision.


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