If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times – “I wish I had more decision making authority”!
Whether it’s formal authority over their team members, handling of an issue, establishing project governance, or setting direction, there is a common sentiment that the grass is greener when it comes to decision making.
Don’t kid yourself – managing projects wouldn’t be that much easier.
Imagine that you are the owner of a private company with no debt owed to outside investors. You have complete authority over all decisions made within your company – within the boundaries of the law, of course!
Will that guarantee that your company would succeed? Does that automatically mean that you will enjoy your work that much more?
Of course not.
Success comes down to having the right product or service at the right time, developed and delivered in the right way by the right people at the right price point to the right customers, and unfortunately, all the decision-making authority in the world won’t ensure all those stars align.
On top of that, it can be a pretty lonely existence – total decision-making authority would naturally separate or alienate you from the others you work with no matter how much benevolency you’d show.
And finally, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Just because you can make all the decisions doesn’t mean you should – with great power comes great responsibility. Acting on the temptation to cut corners by unilaterally making decisions is a great way to lose your best team members.
In the end, you will have reaped the real “reward” of omnipotence – being able to proudly say that the project’s failure was yours and yours alone.
Act as if you are the CEO of your project, but be thankful that you can benefit from diffused decision making authority: strength through diversity, healthy conflict and greater ownership and engagement.
(Note: I had the decision-making authority and acted upon it to re-post my July 2015 article from my personal blog, kbondale.wordpress.com)