We do not like tough decisions. We are uncomfortable weighing different options, and fear cripples us from making the best decision; fear of making the wrong decision, fear of what others will think, and fear of the challenge that may arise from a decision. For most leaders, making tough decisions is a struggle, and too often they stray away from it, which leads to indecision, and that is even worse than making the wrong decision.

Sometimes we use simplicity as the filter, we ask ourselves, “Which decision is easiest?” While simplicity may lead to short-term ease, most of the time there can be long-term consequences. We also look to people around us who have made similar decisions, and make the same one that they do. We use illogical reason to convince ourselves that these options prove to be the right way to make decisions, and I am here to tell you that thought process is simply incorrect.

Let me clarify, however; the simple solution is not always the wrong solution. My goal is to disarm the belief that it is always the right decision. Seeking advice and gaining perspective from others is not always the wrong solution either; yet, it is also not a foolproof way to make decisions. I want to help you understand how to go about making tough decisions, and help use a method that eliminates the fears that can hinder us from making the right choices.


  1. Think through your decisions. As I mentioned earlier, you may not always have the time to do this, and in those circumstances, the following thoughts can help you. If you do have the time, then I encourage you to list out every possible decision. List out the effect of those decisions, and how they will not only affect you, but also the other people involved. Write down these thoughts and compare/contrast them.
  2. Have a filter. It is extremely important to have a vision and purpose for your life, your business, your organization, or whatever else you are leading. This is important for various reasons, but one of those reasons is to provide you with a filter to make decisions. When you are able to align your decisions with your vision and purpose, you will continue to move in a forward direction, even though it may prove to be difficult.
  3. Embrace challenge. The right decision is not always the most challenging either. Yet, I would mention that challenge and adversity grows someone more than remaining in your comfort zone. Check out my blog on Adversity + The Right Perspective = Growth at
    http://www.theheartofashepherd.com/?p=35. If the decision that is more challenging aligns with your vision and purpose, do not shy away from the challenge.
  4. Stand by your decision. This should not be a revelation to you: you are going to make mistakes. We all make mistakes, and we all make bad decisions. It is inherent of who we are. The key is to own up to those mistakes, and admit when you are wrong. No one will think less of you; actually, the exact opposite happens when you own up.


Your ability to make decisions will greatly impact your effectiveness as a leader, as will your inability to do so. Not every decision has a clear solution, in fact, most of the decisions that matter will not. The key is having a strategy and method to making your decisions and not allowing fear to cripple your decision-making capability.  Think about your decision, use your filter, embrace challenge, and stand by your decision.

– Guest Blogger Joshua Cole

Joshua Cole has been involved with leadership and leadership development over the last decade, and has had the opportunity to experience businesses and organizations in a variety of facets starting from the very bottom all the way to consulting the businesses owners and organization leaders.


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