How to Thrive under Indecisive Leadership

ambitious businesswomanDecisiveness and communication are key essentials for successful top-tear leadership to propel their organizations forward in a cohesive manner. Unfortunately, that’s not the case on many counts. Weak leaders fail to deliver clear vision, to communicate goals, and to provide direction where they should (See also Michael Hyatt’s “The 5 Characteristics of Weak Leaders”), shying away from confronting the difficult choices and hoping things will pan out on their own.

When working under such a situation, you may be left wondering what your role really is or how you can perform successfully. Yes, mission statements and catchy slogans are great, but when team members are left guessing how the chimes and rhymes really apply to their daily task lists things really aren’t working. Doubts can arise as to whether your input really means anything; distrust can grow; and direction will be lost – killing positive momentum.

So, you find yourself frustrated and floundering in the needful search for details. If you find yourself in such a case, you have several choices to make if you are going to thrive, not just survive, under indecisive leadership:

  • Leave! Quit. Go somewhere else. This one’s the glaring and first mental option for many. You want to prove a point, so do it! –Actually, this one often backfires and only reveals your inability to manage yourself in difficult times – not usually the best choice, unless you’ve worked through the rest of the list. Therefore, keep on reading…
  • Work with what you know! No matter how vague, work within your job description, and do it well! Find ways to go above and beyond the call of duty. As you earn respect you generally gain an ear.
  • Push for excellence! Hate mediocrity. Be creative. Choose to do the right thing in spite of what others may do, and to the neglect of any existing frustration, anxiety, or animosity for leadership.
  • Communicate! This can be difficult when you’re not getting much from the “higher-ups,” but you know you’ll die if you don’t talk to someone. Tactfully ask for answers. “Where are we going with this?” “Why are you bringing me into the project so late?” “What does this have to do with vision?” Be clear with your needs and expectations.
  • Establish boundaries! Work is not a prison. You and your employer are both under an agreement with each other. So, you complete a set of tasks in an  amount of time and they provide a level of pay and benefits – a two-way street. At the point that you fail to do your job as agreed you should expect a loss of benefit. At the point where your employer requires more the pay and/or benefits should rise; otherwise, it’s an abuse of power. So, building on the earlier steps of performing your role with excellence and communicating, you can now accept tasks and projects that work within adequate time-frames and allocated resources. You are also free to decline those items that may push beyond those boundaries. Manage yourself well in those parameters. If the individual paying you disagrees, talk through it. Be open and approachable. However, stick to your guns & communicate where you need to – no room for “softies” here. Yes, this is where friction can certainly build, but you’ve already earned the respect (from following the other steps) to discuss the situation, so speak up.
  • Choose a direction! If there’s not a direction provided, and you’ve asked, choose a direction where you are gifted and make it successful. God didn’t make you to settle for mediocrity, so use your gifts to push for excellence. Don’t just twiddle your thumbs waiting for people to figure out what they are doing above you. You’re in leadership yourself, so move forward. Motivate your ranks to greater heights.

Ultimately, if you are destined to be a recognized leader, you’ll get to move on (or up), but throwing in the towel as a first resort only makes you out to be the fool. Observe all you can; work hard; be thankful for the opportunities; develop your own decision-making skills; and make your workplace beautiful.


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