One of the most important behaviors of a next-level leader is to think as their organization’s leader thinks.
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September 6, 2021 4 min read
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One of the most important behaviors of a next-level leader is to think as their leader thinks. Leaders like it when a team member can challenge their thinking, but the team member builds trust with the leader when they communicate that they think in a similar way. The more that you do this, the more that the leader will trust you to lead in their place.
Jeff Buckman, CEO of Buckman’s Inc., shared one of the most critical moments in the growth of his business. In his book, Buckman writes of the time in the early 1980s when he thought he had to be involved with everything.
“I would get to the store or office at 7 a.m., go home for an hour for dinner at 5:30 p.m., then return to work until the store closed at 9 p.m. I was wearing myself out and not being a good husband or father. Something had to change. If I had not learned to delegate, the company could have never grown past what I could get done myself.”
I teach the principle that if you want to improve your organization, you must improve your team. Teams and people are the only things that will help a business to grow and develop.
Related: 9 Ways to Combat Decision Fatigue
Make decisions like the owner makes them
One of the best ways to benefit a leader is to enable them to delegate tasks, responsibilities and decisions to you as a next level leader. The art of letting go is challenging for most owners simply because they care deeply about their product or service and have high standards for how they want their business to be conducted.
Follow these steps to great decision-making to make decisions as an owner would make them.
1. Understand the values of the company and make decisions that honor those values
CEOs and top leaders make decisions based on values and beliefs. A next-level leader must understand the values and the beliefs of the leader and organization in order to make the right decision that the leader will be pleased with. When the next-level leader can communicate that they understand how the leader makes a decision, the leader will become more able to delegate their decisions to the next level leader.
2. Consider how the decision impacts all parts of the organization
Many next level leaders are in charge of one part of the organization while the CEO is in charge of all aspects of the organization. To make a decision like a CEO would make it, consider how the decision impacts all parts of the organization. When a next-level leader can communicate that they take a broad view of every decision they make, they will gain the leader’s trust and encourage the CEO to delegate decisions more quickly.
3. Evaluate whether this decision is in alignment with previous decisions
In the legal field, judges make decisions based on precedents or what has been decided before their court case. Business decisions should be conducted in the same way. Most business decisions are not made in isolation — they are made in collaboration with many previous decisions throughout the company’s history.
Every leader considers what decisions have been made before to determine the best current decision. A bad decision is usually the result of not doing this.
4. Communicate to the leader that you understand when they would like to be involved in the decision-making process
Many CEOs and leaders would enjoy being able to delegate more decisions to their teams. When team members communicate that they understand the place when the leader would like to be included in the decision, the leader is more able to let the next level leaders make more decisions in the organization.
It is an interesting paradox for many next-level leaders that when they engage the CEO in the decision-making process, many CEOs choose to let the next level leader make more decisions.
Most decisions that the business leader would want to be involved in pertain to long-term customers or vendors, significant monetary impact or a value-based decision that may go against their personal beliefs. Determining a decision’s impact is an important conversation with any leader and will help clarify when and how a leader would like to be involved in the decision-making process.