Our guest blogger today is Kevin Hall, a current PhD student in Christian Leadership at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, NC. Kevin has also served as a police officer, and he and his family live in Michigan.
The threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has become non-stop news. Leaders of governments, universities, local schools, sports entities, businesses, and churches are faced with making hard decisions in response to the COVID-19 threat.
However, tough decisions are nothing new for a leader. The stakes may be higher in tough situations, but strong leaders make the necessary decisions. Maybe some of these suggestions will help you when you face a difficult decision:
- Ask God to give you wisdom. For Christian leaders, asking God for direction is non-negotiable. All our training and experience cannot fully prepare us for making some decisions. We need God’s help.
- Be well-informed. Get the data. Make sure the information is right and that you are analyzing it correctly. Don’t skimp on doing your research to make the best-informed decision.
- Solicit diverse counsel. The time to make a difficult decision is not the time to be surrounded by “yes men.” Seek opposing opinions and hear varying viewpoints. If your context is diverse, invite input from others from different cultures.
- Consider possible consequences. When leaders make difficult decisions, they must remember that the effects of a decision are often widespread. Decisions affect their employees, their organization, and any people their organization touches or serves.
- Prepare for disagreement. Not everyone will agree with the leader’s decision. With the COVID-19, some see no threat while others are in a panic. Differences in assessment will then result in different ideas of a reasonable response. Leaders must accept any dissent, analyze the data, and remain confident in their decision.
- Adjust as needed. Leaders won’t always make the best decision. They must be flexible to make changes when they get new information or realize the need to take a different course of action. Good leaders adjust as needed to make new tough decisions.
Whether leading amid a pandemic or the normal VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world in which we lead, making difficult decisions is a necessary responsibility of leadership. What principles would you add to this list?
If it is a congregation, ask if there are scientists and/or physicians who will help you. You likely don’t know who is a parishioner. Stop using litmus tests to determine if people are “good enough” to give you advice. Then, listen to them. They might tier their advice from the riskiest plan to the most conservative one. You might have to ask which on they would do but they will answer.