When Decisions From the Top Don’t Make Sense

We’ve all asked (aloud or silently) the same question about our boss, or the department vice president, or the CEO at one time or another: What is he/she thinking??!!

Well, the odds are the leader spent a good deal of time considering their options before making their decision. However, when you aren’t privy to your leader’s thought process and all the details and factors that go into a decision, some decisions can seem bewildering. And then there’s the unfortunate reality that even when a lot of thought goes into a decision, occasionally it still ends up being the wrong one…or so we think.

So, what do you do now? Here are recommendations for both leaders and teammates when decisions from the top just don’t make any sense.

When the decision doesn’t make sense to you:

  • Borrow trust. You don’t have all the information, nor do you hold all the risk. You must put some trust in the leader’s decision, even if that means initially you borrow that trust from another colleague who does support or understand the decision.
  • Lead up. Find ways to bring value and support the decision rather than tear it down. This might include asking for clarity on how you need to move, react to and support the decision that you don’t understand or agree with.
  • Focus on what you CAN do. Can you still impact people? Perform well in your role? Find ways to serve and excel? Yes you can.
  • Remember, it is just a decision. The sun will come up tomorrow. This decision is just one storyline impacting your professional journey and your season in life.

When you make a decision that doesn’t make sense to your team or organization:

  • Be present. You made a decision a lot of people don’t agree with. Your absenteeism will only further stress people out.  Be open, talk to people, and be available to them.
  • Show consistency in your vision. Your decision should support the vision, not detract from it.
  • Influence through the middle. I cannot stress how influential the middle of an organization is. Stay connected with this group, and they will help balance your decision and dilute any fears others have.
  • Continue to build trust. If you lose trust, the chances of your decision being supported drastically decline.
  • Don’t be afraid to make necessary adjustments. If you ever do make a decision that goes bad, don’t continue to force it or cram it just because you made the decision. There is nothing wrong or embarrassing with backing off that decision and adjusting as needed.

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