Every leader has a choice when it comes to making decisions: make the decision yourself or allow others (those who work for you) to make the decision.
There isn’t any other option! In many places, if the leader fails to make a decision, the people will naturally decide on their own. That will always be the “default” response.
The question is this: How many decisions should the leader make and how many decisions should be made by those who have been entrusted with responsibility?
It is important to understand the extremes shown by the little drawing I made above. If the leader makes all the decisions, the organization will be led down the path of a dictatorship. Everyone will know that they have no space to give their input. They WILL give their input, but you won’t receive it. The input will be given to friends, coworkers, family members, etc.
Is it possible to influence people through this leadership style? Of course! Will it be healthy influence? Not at all! The culture of the organization will be negative and will lead to its downfall.
Let’s move to the other extreme. If the leader allows those who work for him to make all the decisions, it could lead to anarchy. Why might this happen? It’s simple. The primary leader knows more about the state of the organization as a whole than any individual team member. Therefore, any team member’s decision (as it relates to the whole) will be at best incomplete. As a result, those decisions might negatively impact other people in other areas, leading to infighting between the team, and ruining the culture of the organization just as much as the previous example.
Can a leader influence people through this leadership style? Of course! But, the leader will spend so much time attempting to put out fires between team members, that their organization will not be able to move forward. It will stagnate and eventually die.
The right thing to do is to find a balance. There ARE decisions that only the primary leader/senior pastor/CEO should make in an organization. But, there is a lot of decision making power that can be given to individual team members. As leaders, we should train other leaders. We can only do that when we give responsibility AND authority to those who work with us.
How do you find the balance?
Trial and error.