Leaders work with complex issues every day. Leaders are faced with complicated decisions. Leaders must make the tough choices. As a leader, the first step is realizing that you have a decision to make.
Realizing You Have a Decision To Make
I was driving home with my 7 year old daughter. Between Taylor Swift tracks 4 and 5, she says, "Mom, people must think that you are the second wife." Surprised, curious and very supportive mom that I am, I simply asked, "Why?"
Kid: Well, I don't look like you. I look like Daddy. You don't look like us. We have white hair you have black. We have blue eyes and you don't.
Me: You do have my eyebrows and long fingers. Look closely kid!
Kid: Well, me and Daddy like to stay up late at night and you always want to go to sleep early.
Me: Sleep helps your brain grow and besides, 8:30 - 9:00 is when the sleep fairies come to visit.
Kid: Well, me and Daddy are the fun ones. You are too stressed.
I am an ISTJ and J's create stress in life but I am also a Mom who has a kid who is noticing it enough to speak about it. I have been working so much lately, I did not even notice.
Realizing That Decisions Can Be Complicated
"We want decisions to be simple, but if they were they'd make themselves. HR is complicated and we should not accept simple solutions. " HRLeaders.org
Why is it that some struggle with a particular decision while others breeze right through it? Change the decision, change the time, change one detail and the person struggling is set free and makes the decision and the other is suddenly stalled.
Ordering coffee requires many decisions: Caribou not Starbucks; latte not cappuccino; decaf; vanilla (maybe mocha); extra foam; no whipped cream; medium; to go. Some decisions are very easy for me to make. Others are not.
I had an opportunity to make a change. It came in the form of a mandate to add more HR staff. Jealous?Don't be. This was an unfunded mandate. Adding professional administrative staff in an already tight budget year with every spare nickel needing to go towards direct patient care, requires creativity and many discussions with my Fiscal Officer. For another person, this decision could have been made without even a second thought. For me, right now, this was very complicated.
Complications aside for a moment, decisions have to be made and leaders have to make them. Leaders make 100's of decisions in the course of a week; most without much effort. And then, there comes the one that are not so easy.
One version of the proposed plan involved adding an Assistant HR Officer position with supervisory responsibilities; a seemingly small step. It seemed so procedural, so routine, so simple. Yet, each time it came to the forefront of a staffing plan, I pushed it to the back. I designed and redesigned around this option and each and every time I thought I had a plan that did not have a position with supervisory responsibilities, my inner voice told me I really did not have a long term plan at all.
Why couldn't I make this decision? I considered a lot (can you say: over think?), however, the one thing I did not consider was me. Then with one very insightful question from a colleague, I did. Enter the complications: a little bit of wanting to please others (ISTJ Breanne?), a little bit of ego (what if my Assistant is better than I ever was? Good selection!) and a whole lot of not wanting to let go.
Making the Decision
Understanding what is getting in the way of easily making a decision can be crucial to a leader and her decision making process.
Not wanting to let go was the complication for me. How do I know? As soon as I became aware, the struggle ceased and I made the decision. A vacancy announcement went up for a Supervisory Human Resource Specialist (Assistant Chief) for succession planning purposes and to assist with the day-to-day madness of running a very fast-paced, complex HR Department.
Now, what was so tough about that?