Part I – 5 Tips For Making People Decisions

In this 2-part series, I’d like to share my experience with 5 tips I read in a Dan Rockwell’s blog several years ago. The blog is called “The Five Declarations of Leadership”.

I give you the five (5) tips and then share my experience with the first 2.

  1. Own poor people decisions: when someone doesn’t perform in a role, we put them there. Don’t blame.
  2. Start slow: test with small projects.
  3. Focus on character, capacity and drive: skill and talent don’t matter without these.
  4. Ask, “What would you do?”: explore how they think.
  5. Reject know-it-alls: humble is better than arrogant.

1. Poor Performance Is Mostly The Leader’s Responsibility

This is a difficult statement to swallow but I have found Henry Cloud’s word to be true, leaders get what they create or allow.

I have found it interesting to hear people talk about bad performers and blame it all on them. But, when these “leaders” are asked in what ways they had invested to help these people succeed, the common answer is “I don’t have time for 1×1, training, or answer too many questions”.

Interesting! I guess they are supposed to learn by osmosis!

Three (3) things to consider about this mentality of “I don’t have time too train and answer questions:”

  1. Without 1x1s, how would I know what the team’s likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, and passions?
    • My greatest work and the highest impact was achieved by doing the things I’m passionate about.
    • In order to set individuals for success, we must get to know them.
  2. Without training (equipping and developing), how can I expect people to produce?
    • Not everyone learns on the go.
    • And even if they can, there’s no easy way for them to find out what’s expected of them.
    • Most people learn by observing how things get done, practicing the activity, and internalizing the process.
  3. If we don’t answer questions, how can we provide guidance?
    • Most people don’t want thing to be fixed for them. They are asking for understanding.
    • Yes, some people don’t do their homework but most are honestly confused.

Don’t blame the child for never learning how to say a proper hello or goodbye.

2. Take It One Appropriate Step At A Time

I have experienced and seen both extremes. The leader that delegates the big job to the newbie; and the one, that doesn’t want to delegate anything because “Sally is a newbie.”

I believe the progression should be proportionate to the student and in relation to the demands of the overall job. There are many factors affecting the speed of trust in delegating major projects.

  • Their capacity to learn new concepts and adapt to the environment.
  • The wisdom and transferable skills learned from prior work experience.
  • The level of emotional intelligence.
  • The quality of their problem solving methods.
  • And many others.

What I’m saying is “small steps” are relative to the individual who is taking them.


I’ll talk to you next week when I cover the other three ideas. In the meantime, take a few minutes to think about the following questions:

In what ways have you struggled with these ideas? How have you conquered them?



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