Leaders Take The Next Step
Have you ever heard of analysis paralysis (AP)? It’s a character symptom where leaders cannot make decisions quickly. Instead, they think about the decision, analyze all perspectives, and second-guess themselves.
As Stephen Covey says, “they can READY, and AIM, but they can never FIRE” when in the process of making a significant decision.
These leaders get stuck in the decision process and cannot pull the trigger.
Why Do Some Leaders Struggle With AP?
Several issues can cause analysis paralysis; however, I want to focus on a few and give some skills to help the leader grow. Here are a few of the issues:
Lack of quality truth-tellers – some leaders suffer from AP because they don’t have quality colleagues in their life that have the freedom to speak the truth to them. In an earlier blog post, I mentioned that I only had other teens or novice leaders in my ministry (back when I was a Youth Pastor); not having mature and seasoned leaders limited my ability to lead with excellence.
Black and White Thinking – other leaders might not make decisions because they get stuck in black and white thinking. This limits their decision-making process options and keeps them short-sighted in their leadership.
Living in a “one down” relationship – finally, some leaders are stuck in a “one down” relationship. One-down relationships happen when adult leaders have another adult “parenting” them. In this dynamic, the leader who struggles with making decisions feels like they must ALWAYS go to the superior and “ask for permission.” In this setting, they are still being parented and are taking on the role of a child. My 11 y/o often struggles with making decisions because he wants to make sure “he is pleasing me.”
Skills To Learn
Submit to Vulnerable Relationships – leaders need to have the ability to make decisions, and the first step is to team up with truth-tellers. Recruit other leaders that you will voluntarily submit to and share your life with. These relationships must be mutual (as in good for all involved). If you struggle with developing and recruiting truth-tellers for your life, then reach out to a life coach to help you learn this skill.
Deal with the ALL BAD / ALL GOOD Tyrant – Life is much more than black and white. Life is lived in technicolor! So take a risk and decide (after you did your due diligence). At worst, you will fail, and then you have solid information to learn from and readjust. I started investing in stocks last year. I failed a lot (and lost some money), but every week I make new decisions based on what I learned the previous week. I have failed, but I am not a failure.
Verbally Disagree with an Authority Figure – If you are in a “one-down” relationship with another authority figure, then purposely disagree with them sometime this week. NOTE, do it respectfully. Please do it. As you read this, you will probably feel a little anxiety build up inside yourself. That’s normal. If this is a new skill for you, you might want to reach out to a life coach and role-play this activity before practicing it out in real-time.
One Last Thought
Analysis paralysis will keep you stuck in ministry and life. I worked with a client several years ago because he was stuck in a dead-end job and couldn’t pull the trigger to transition. It took some time as we explored why he was stuck; eventually, he grew in his character and then Pulled the Trigger. He quit the one job sucking the life out of him, and he is working with a new company that allows him the freedom to be an autonomous adult.
What decisions are you stuck with this week?
What skill will you apply this week?
James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner (2006). A Leader’s Legacy. Jossey-Bass Publishing.
Cloud, Dr. Henry (2009). Changes That Heal: Four Practical Steps To A Happier, Healthier You. Zondervan Publishing.
Cloud, Dr. Henry (2006, January). Integrity, The Courage To Face The Demands Of Reality. Harper-Collins Publishing.