Ever sit with a bunch of people and awkwardly talk about what to do next? Everyone is tentative and polite. No one wants to offend or look foolish. People are going out of their way to avoid disagreements and confrontation.
And that is only trying to decide what to have for lunch!
Everyone has a good intent — keeping others happy to sustain the status quo. The problem is, the status quo is unsustainable. Eventually, lunchtime is over, and no one ate. Now performance for the rest of the day is shot, and some people are resentful of others and beating themselves up for not making a decision.
Next day, same room. One person is polite but not tentative. They do not think about acting foolish or offending people, not because they are careless, but because their concern for such things matches the level of the decision being made. They may not enjoy disagreements and confrontation, but they do not shy away from them. They know navigating differences is how to achieve preferences. This person declares a lunch spot and then acts. Some, likely most, will follow. Some will not, for a myriad of legitimate reasons. That does not prevent anyone from eating.
Leaders lead, no matter the circumstance. Given the opportunity, they take it. They adjust to the results. In cases bigger or smaller than lunch, don’t sit around. Be ready to lead.
Also published on Medium.