Dr. Roberto pointed out that leaders do not just lead the way, but they rely on their teams to help them make critical decisions in crunch situations and marshal the collective intellect and experience around them to make wise choices. Dr. Roberto talked about classic traps in decision making that can cause leaders to struggle. We may succumb to “group think” or try to please everyone in our organization. Or we may fail to share information effectively with all of our team members. Leaders who perceive themselves as the ultimate experts on a certain topic may become dogmatic, and these individuals cling to conventional wisdom (“that’s the way it has always been done”) despite contradictory evidence or clear signs of a changing environment.
Dr. Roberto asked the audience: How can we, no matter what our roles, overcome these traps and make wise, informed decisions at critical moments for our team, our organization and our profession? He advised the group that leaders build a climate of candor; leaders cultivate constructive conflict; and leaders invite debate to enhance the quality of the critical decisions they make. Leaders do not hide information that may be unpleasant or that may call their own opinion into question from the group.
It is important for leaders to “decide how to decide,” Dr. Roberto explained. Leaders must think proactively in decision-making situations. They consider which team members to ask for advice or information. They think about how to create a collaborative and candid climate within their team or organizational structure. They also stimulate robust dialogue among team members and encourage dissenting views to be heard.