Fairly, or unfairly, those in positions of leadership, are often held responsible, for whatever happens under their watch. Often, this means, they're given credit for something they had little to do with the success of, as well as blamed for things they didn't do (or couldn't have foreseen). Therefore, I thought it might be useful, if we tackled this somewhat, thorny issue, by examining the components that go into, how a leader makes a decision, and how he knows how to proceed. This includes the period leading up to any decision or action, including training, preparation, experience, etc, as well as how this acquired knowledge, judgment, expertise (hopefully), and wisdom (also, hopefully), can be used, synergistically, to be ready and prepared, and to feel confident, and capable of proceeding. How does a leader KNOW what to do?
1. Keep keen eye; knowledge; kaleidoscope: Leading is often quite challenging because it is confused by a kaleidoscope-effect! Few things are completely black-and-white, and therefore, to become a great leader, one must be able to make some sense out of the often-confusing signs and signals. Can you keep a keen eye on what is most important, and avoid getting distracted by the minutia, and/or lower priority matters? Is the knowledge you've acquired, gained, and remember, useful, or merely a bunch of strewn-together data, which you have not put together in a logical, methodical way?
2. Needs; nuances; noise; nose: Great leaders filter out the distractions and empty, less valuable noises, and focus on priorities, needs, and concerns, both from an immediate, as well as longer-term perspective. They've studied their organization's history, heritage, and mission, and realize the necessary nuances, which will best serve their specific group. Perhaps most importantly, they are ready, willing and able, to put their nose to the grindstone, and work, harder, more consistently, and effectively, than others.
3. Options; opportunities; open-mind; opts: It takes an open-mind, to become the best leader possible. No one knows it all, and therefore, one must be willing to consider and evaluate alternatives, without prejudgment, in a wise and competent way. Do you know the various options, and what the pros-and-cons, of each are? Will you be ready to take advantage of opportunities, which might present themselves, or to make your own opportunity? Finally, do you have the self-confidence, judgment, and true leadership skill, to opt for the best alternative, and to take action in a quality and timely manner?
4. Why; where; when; what; who: Why do you want to be a leader? Where will you take your organization? When will you act? What will be your strategic and action plan, and what will you personally do? Who will you develop, to help you make an even greater, positive impact?
It's not always crystal clear, at the beginning of a leader's deliberations and considerations. Using these attributes and concepts, however, a true leader will KNOW what must be done, and will do it!