Learning to Lead Quickly

While standing at the airline counter, I was forced to make a decision.  My flight had been delayed 6 times that afternoon, and there was no guarantee that I would get home that day, so I had to decide if I should take a different flight out of the storm ridden city, or take my chances on getting out.  I had about 1 minute to make the decision, and I made it.  I was able to fly to another city, stay in a hotel for the night, then get home early the next morning.  Later I learned that the airport I was in closed on and off all night, and the flight I would have taken had also been canceled.  Good decision!

Sometimes in leadership we’re forced to make quick decisions.  Most of the time they are much more important than which flight to take.  These decisions often involve people lives.

As leaders, we’re taught to not make “hasty” decisions, and I think we assume that this means we should never make “quick” decisions.  There’s a difference between the 2. A “hasty” decision is often defined as a “hurried” decision or one that we’re forced to make when we’re not ready to make it. I’ll define a “quick” decision as a decision that is made in a very short time, but a decision that is made with the support around you to make it.

I want to encourage you to learn how to make quick decisions and as leaders, sometimes we have to be able to make quick decisions, not hasty decisions, but quick ones.

Here are some things that can help you to be ready to make quick decisions:

• Surround yourself with people you trust.  Learn to listen to them.

• Learn to determine the essential.  Get rid of the things that make decision making complicated and focus on the most important thing. Sometimes we can’t make a decision because we can’t even determine what the real issue is.

• Don’t be afraid of failure.  You will make wrong decisions.  Someone once told me “I’d rather you make a wrong decision than be afraid to make any decision.”  When you make a wrong decision, admit it, clean up the mess and move on!

•Trust yourself and the leading of God within you.  You are never alone.  Trust your experience, trust your expertise and trust God who is working in you and through you. Learn to hear His voice first.


I encourage you to practice with smaller decisions you need to make. Figure out what you need to make good, quick decisions and try it!

You will face a time when as a leader, you will be called on to make a quick decision.  Be ready for that.  Be willing to lead through that decision.

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