You know that adulthood has arrived when you stop asking for permission. You start realizing that you are the most qualified person in the room and it's best to own the decision and spare the time sucking drama of debate and consensus. I'm not throwing consensus out the door, it WILL come later if you adhere to the checklist below.
I can recall a thousand times where I've been stalled while trying to bring everyone along for the ride. I should have been taking action. I knew that nobody else on the planet had put more thought into these specific matters than me.
On the flip side I can recall a thousand times where I simply acted autonomously as needed and in a timely manner. Things turned out better for everyone, including those that I would have brought along on the "consensus" journey. This is my preferred option!
Here is your checklist:
☑︎1. ARE you the most qualified person in the room?
☑︎2. Have you worked out every possible scenario in your mind?
☑︎3. Have your heard everyone else's ideas?
☑︎4. Is this in EVERYONE'S best interest?
☑︎5. Is life short? And are you tired of waiting for the lowest common denominator to dictate the pace?
☑︎6. OK then. Do what needs to be done.
It works like this. When you take responsibility for your actions, you must do it from a position of knowing that you have put more research, thought, and introspection into the decision. Nobody likes a dictator, but benevolent dictators are different. They are some degree of selfless and truly have everyone's best interest at heart. Be the benevolent dictator. It will be a lonely road at times, but you will soon see that consensus will soon find you instead of the other way around. Not because anyone fears you but because they see that it was easier for them to defer to you. They will begin to recognize your wisdom earlier and earlier with each success. Those that don't see the wisdom are usually the lowest common denominator, and if they aren't why did you check boxes 2 and 3?
AND when you see that it's time, give your followers the chance to be the benevolent dictator. Assuming they have paid attention, they have learned the style in which you prepare for and own your decisions. You are a mentor and your mentees will now lead with the wisdom that you have displayed. When you've unleashed this kind of solid practice in your group then you are leveraging the power of your leadership.
☐If you weren't able to check all the boxes in the list above, then you have a list to work on. Make it your goal to check-off every box by this time next year. See how much it improves your situation.
What about the situations where you shouldn't be the "Benevolent Dictator"? That is a great question! And the short answer is, "it takes one to know one". Great Benevolent Dictators recognize the trait in others and will quickly defer to them when they know that they are no longer the smartest person in the room...
All the best,