Understanding Leaders’ Decisions

Have you ever had a leader ask for your opinion and then decide to do something completely different?  Many people are baffled by this.  However, after being a leader in various roles, it totally makes sense.  So, I thought it might be helpful to explain why this happens, a lot.

A leader usually asks opinions of many people.  You would like to think that most of those opinions are the same.  After all, your opinion makes sense to you, so maybe a few people think something a little different, but they should all be pretty close, right?  Unfortunately, that is rarely the case.  More often, everyone’s opinion is completely different and might even contradict other people’s opinions.

I can give you one great example of this.  After being Scoutmaster for a year, I was wondering if we should rearrange the patrols in our troop.  So, I asked other leaders what they thought.  One leader said we should leave our patrols exactly the way they were.  Another leader said the exact opposite, that we should move all of the boys around to different patrols.  Yet another leader even took it a step further and said that we should change the structure of how we put boys in patrols.  In the end, I asked the Scouts what they wanted (boy-led, boy-run, right?).  They said they mostly wanted to keep things the same, but tweak a few things.  So, that’s what we did.

Most people were happy, but those leaders that said leave everything the same or completely change everything might wonder why I didn’t follow their advice.  Of course, I explained it to everyone.  But, I figured this must happen in other organizations, so it might be worth sharing.