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Sure you can make the tough calls. Usually. Conceptually. Sometime’s there’s this reluctance thing, but that’s normal, right?!

A Struggle By Any Other Name

As with so many things, not everything is easy for everyone. And some things are, to a greater or lesser degree, difficult for pretty much everyone. So it is with leaders, as well, regardless of the “term” they give to their struggles:

  • Making the TOUGH decisions
  • Having the DIFFICULT conversations
  • Bellying up to the bar
  • Where the rubber meets the road
  • When the Buck stops Here
  • Hitting it “Head On”
  • Right versus Easy
  • Playing the HEAVY
  • Earning your pay
  • Pulling yourself up by your bootstraps
  • Wearing your Big-Boy pants
  • Bringing your “A” game
  • Showing ’em what you’ve got

So many ways to say it. So many Calls to Action:

  • When it’s time to give some bad news
  • When it’s time to give an important update
  • During negotiations
  • When dealing with conflict
  • When taking responsibility for the unintended consequences of what you did
  • When taking responsibility for the unintended consequences of what you didn’t do
  • When it’s time to put someone on a performance plan
  • When it’s time to escalate that performance plan to the next level
  • When it’s Final Warning time
  • Termination

Why is it YOUR job?

Before itemizing why it IS your job, know that if you’re a leader, making difficult decisions is something you’re going to want to get good at — REALLY  good at — if you hope to climb the organizational hierarchy any further. Why? Because, more times than not, all the UN-difficult decisions will be decided two or three levels below you in the organizational hierarchy. Indeed, more likely than not, the only decisions that will reach YOUR level of authority will be real thorny ones.

So why IS it your job? Why are YOU the one best-suited to be making the tough calls?

  1. Those below you can’t…or won’t – Maybe they need more training, or time, or motivation, or whatever, but, in THIS moment, they just don’t have what it takes…or are unwilling to demonstrate that they do.
  2. Those above you shouldn’t – If you can’t…or won’t, then they must. But if you can, then prove that you can. (And if you think you can’t, figure out what you need to shift it from “virtually impossible” to “imminently doable” and go forward from there, post-haste.)
  3. It’s your call – Some decisions are simply yours to make because, based on your role, or expertise, or unique positioning, you’re the best person TO decide.
  4. It’s time – This really HAS been going on long enough, hasn’t it? It really IS time, isn’t it?
  5. It’s Your JOB – Oh, right. There is THAT. 

Next time we’ll look at HOW to make difficult decisions. For now, though, know that making them really IS yours to do, Boss.

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