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Small Decisions Make Small Leaders

Many leaders of smaller movements and organizations try to make all the decisions themselves, and under certain circumstances this approach works well. But such leaders almost always crash and burn as the organization grows; or alternatively, the organization itself collapses when the original leader ages or becomes ill or dies.

Even in small organizations there are compelling reasons why a leader should consistently delegate most decisions to selected ones of his lieutenants.

  1. Time constraints
    First, making a good decision is hard, time-consuming work, and no leader can make many good decisions in a month's time, much less in a day or a week. So he needs to carefully reserve for himself only the most important decisions, and cheerfully delegate the rest.

  2. Truce or consequences
    A second major factor in favor of delegation is that it helps develop and nurture strong lieutenants. A leader can't expect his lieutenants to grow and grow up unless he gives them the opportunity to make real decisions that will have real consequences for the organization, without their being constantly second-guessed by the leader.

May/June
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