"Accept me or kill me MacKayla. But choose. F--k--g Choose.”
― Karen Marie Moning, Shadowfever
One of the worst attributes of many managers is their inability or reluctance to make a decision. In other words: they “sit on it”. The person’s belief is that by not making a decision, he or she cannot make the wrong decision and, hopefully, the problem will go away. Perhaps, he is waiting for more data, a sign from heaven, a higher level manager to make the decision for him, or for the tea leaves to become more readable, etc. In many instances, the manager is afraid to say “no” or turn down a request.
Working for such a manager is extremely frustrating and demoralizing. It conveys indecisiveness, lack of ownership, no confidence, inability to lead, and dishonesty. Most people would rather have a leader give them an answer that they may not want rather than wait and never get an answer. It allows them to move on. Things don’t tend to get better by dragging it out. We all know of the girl who leads the boyfriend on, only to dump him in the end. Short term pain is better than long term pain and time wasted.
"Indecision and delays are the parents of failure"
-- George Canning
If you are such a manager, then make up your mind. You have a 50% chance of making a correct decision and sometimes, there are no 100% correct decisions. If you are a product manager, after getting all the data and necessary polling, you must clearly and definitively set your priorities and feature set. If you work for such a person, give them a date and spell out the consequences after that date, e.g. increased costs, missed deadlines, etc.
Being indecisive means not creating waves and things cannot survive in stagnant water.
Be bold or step out of the way.
Frank Lio is a Product Manager, Strategist, and Change Agent in the Hi-Tech industry. His growing track record of successes include creating 3 winning software products, leading nationwide seminars, and turning around a failing business unit. He is currently serving a dual role as Product Manager and Business Team Support Manager at Instron ITW.
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