"The dog has four feet, but he does not walk them on four roads."–Haitian Proverb
Freedom of choice or autocratic leadership? Does it have to be a choice between the two? At what point does the need to achieve a single objective overlap with the needs of your employees or followers to be empowered?
It is easy to fall into the trap of never making a decision or never holding people accountable in an attempt to ensure that they have the freedom of personal engagement. In fact, you may have read some of my posts on this blog and wondered how to do both. While it is laudable to check yourself to ensure that you are involving others at some point the leader's role is to make a decision and to set the course. Or, as the proverb above suggests, to get all four feet on the same road.
Empowerment and engagement require the openness to solicit real input from followers whenever possible. But remember…they want you to lead. Not everybody's preferred direction can always be pursued, but they know that already. Your followers want to be heard, they want to understand your decision, and they want you to lead. The ones you need with you are not the ones who want to stand still…they are the ones that are ready for action. Today.