Leadership from the head or the heart?

One would hope all good leaders have a strong head and a strong heart. A balance is the hallmark of great leaders. The challenge is leaders are often faced with tough decisions that are in conflict with these two ideals.

Take, for example, a significant layoff. A leader has to make tough choices that will affect the lives of many people. The head might tell you it’s just a business decision and the prudent thing to do. The heart may tell you to find other ways to cut costs, rather than disrupt the lives of loyal staff.

These tough choices are everyday issues for leaders. Here are some hints for evaluating your next tough decision:

  • Get all the facts as soon as possible.
  • Consult others who have been in similar situations.
  • Face the brutal facts, as distasteful as they might be.
  • Weigh the pros and cons.
  • Build a matrix for decision-making.
  • Trust your intuition, but back it up.
  • Be fair and honest with the brutal facts; people will respect it.
  • Acknowledge mistakes and correct them.
  • Take some of the pain yourself (a pay cut, for example, shows staff they are not alone).
  • Communicate a plan for the future and a rationale for the decision.
  • Believe in what you are doing and stay resolute.
  • Rally support, as you will need it after implementation.
  • Be strong but humble.
  • Think from your head and your heart.