Good Judgment is an Important Element in the Leader’s Assessment
Good Judgment is a key characteristic for any leader or anyone who aspires to be a leader. However, it is important to appreciate the fact that leadership has both negative as well as positive consequences. In How to Lead, How to Live, Mills, D. Quinn states that leadership is important due to several reasons. Effective leadership helps an organization when faced with a crisis. Also, effective leadership is important to help an organization attain its set goals and objectives. Lack of leadership within an organization may result in slow rates of growth and development, thereby making it difficult for such organizations to realize their set objectives. A leader with judgmental skills is best placed to make timely, complete, and correct decisions. In addition, such a leader is also in a position to implement decisions in a timely and effective way. Management is one of the areas where leadership is part of the job requirements. Judgment is particularly important in making strategic decisions. What makes one a great leader is his/her ability to direct people in the right direction? One cannot determine the best direction to follow without good judgment (Mills, 10).
Tichy and Bennis. “Judgment: how winning leaders make the great call”
Judgment: how winning leaders make a great call by Tichy and Bennis is one of the books that have extensively explored the issue of decision-making in the market. The book concentrates on the judgment making process. The book focuses on effective decision-making for people in leadership and also for the ordinary person in everyday life. One of the things the book attempts to do is to explain why some people seem to make better judgment calls than others. The book is well researched and contains a good number of real-life examples. Some of these include the AT&T management situation under Michael Armstrong from 1997 to 2005 and the management of Hewett Packard (HP) under Carly Fiorina amongst many other examples.
Every individual in leadership would like to make the best decision in any problem situation. So, how do great leaders make great decisions? According to Tichy and Bennis, the judgment process involves three stages; preparation, the call, and execution (Judgment, 29). Preparation is about detecting a problem and making a good judgment that involves allocating the right individuals to handle it. It also involves gathering adequately necessary information concerning the call or purpose and assembling the basic material equipment and resources that are required for the call. As such, it becomes important to obtain all knowledge about the call and make an inventory of the resources available for the call to commence into realization. The call refers to that moment when, based on the leader‘s view of the time horizon for the judgment and sufficiency of input and involvement, the leader feels compelled or motivated to communicate his purpose to everyone keen on following his agenda.
When the prevailing conditions seem to agree with the presentations of the leader’s ideas and the leader is prompted to step into action. This occurs just before the execution phase. The execution phase involves the actual implementation of the resolved decision. In this phase, each resource and available material is put to work for the objectives of the decision made. It is a critical part of good judgment making as it completes the phases involved in judgment by testing the decision against existing realities in a practical framework. The main lessons this book teaches include, the first one is that what matters most, is not the number of good decisions you make but the number of crucial decisions you get right. The second one is that without good judgment all other management skills are worthless. The third one is that good judgment involves good execution of the decision made. A good example is the Carly Fiorina case at HP. She was the CEO from 1999 to 2005 she made many quality decisions but when it came to the Compaq acquisition, the execution of this transaction was done wrongly. This was a major wrong judgment and in 2005 she was fired by the HP board
Judgment calls involve three things, people, strategy, and crisis. These three domains are the most important in any organization. The judgments made regarding people are very important and some of the hardest to make. This is because people have emotions, they are affected by their likes and dislikes towards the leader, they have relationships with people who are often affected by those decisions, and so on. Therefore, it becomes the daunting responsibility of leaders in an organization comprising of human resource managers and departmental heads to understand the individual and group behaviors of their teams. A leader’s success is measured by the level of achievement of his team. In a more general sense, every leader is known because she/he has some significant following. People equally chose to follow someone who will add value to their lives. Others follow a leader for fun because they like to be associated with the individual’s personality. For example, the organization does well with leaders who double as role models and are free to share in the personal challenges of the members of his organization.
Organizational behavior, therefore, plays a significant role in leadership within an organization. It affects the decision making processes of a leader in many ways, visa vies, recruitment of staff inappropriate tasks, recognizing the talents of the team members and helping them develop their skill on the same line, and finally listening to their complaints and granting justice as appropriate all rests on the leaders’ ability to make sound and practical judgments. He or she is supposed to team up with a suitable group of consultants who can help him in the strategic planning of his goals. This latter aspect of judgment in decision-making is important in mitigating the organization’s decisions against future risks. The kind of risks that the organization may be susceptible to due to systematic changes are considered and addressed at this stage. The first thing a leader should do is to ensure that he or she gets the right people, then make a strategic plan and start preparing for a future crisis because crises are inevitable. Strategy judgment calls relate to the decisions the leader makes to place the enterprise in a position of competitive advantage in the long run. A leader’s ability to make the right strategic decision depends on his foresight and the people that he or she interacts with. Making strategic decisions requires deep thought and analysis of the different possible alternatives before picking one.
This is because strategic decisions result in the commitment of a large number of resources and because they determine the organization’s future success. Crisis judgment calls differ from the two previous ones in two ways, the time available for making the decision is significantly lower and there is higher pressure. Therefore, the probability of making a bad or less ideal decision is much higher. Another significant assertion by the authors is that “irrespective of the number of decisions a leader gets right, what matters is how many of the significant ones are well decided” (Tichy and 15). The success of a leader is measured by his or her long-term performance. Leaders should therefore make strategic decisions targeting long-term goals and objectives as opposed to focusing on the short run. Leaders can draw from a wealth of knowledge by assessing the views of his or her Social Network, the Organization’s knowledge, knowledge of other stakeholders, and making a fully informed decision based on his ultimate knowledge and aspirations. The best example in this book is the management of P&G (Procter & Gamble) by Alan George Leafly. He was appointed as the CEO of the company at a time when the company was performing poorly. The company’s stock had fallen by 56% and it would not meet its first quarter. He made good crisis judgments and strategic judgments. For example, he made a strategic decision to acquire Gillette.
By 2006 the stock company’s stock price had risen by 66 %.
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To make quality decisions, a leader has to have several resources and interact with the right components. One of the main resources is knowledge. Self-knowledge involves understanding yourself. You should know your values, your motivation sources, your goals, weaknesses, and strengths. For example, my values are integrity, delaying justification, and hard work. Regarding social network knowledge, a leader should have a rich collection of people who can assist him/her in the development of good judgment. Leaders should surround themselves with a group of people with good judgment skills and teach the ones under him the skills he or she already has. Organizational knowledge means that the leader should equip the people around him or her so that they can also be able to make good judgments on their own.
According to Griffin and Moorhead, a leader should understand the organizational processes and motivational factors in their organizations. Stakeholders are all the people who are affected by the organization in different ways. These would include customers, shareholders, employees, and creditors, amongst others. A leader should know all these groups. This will ensure that when he or she is making decisions he or she will consider the expectations of these stakeholders. The author reiterates the view that a good leader is one that continually makes the best decisions in the situations that matter most. A leader should be able to define the concept, best scenario, and the reasons for this. He or she should define the storylines in three areas: where he or she or the organization is currently at, where he or she is headed, and how are they are going to get there. The leader should be able to take the valuable knowledge and experiences that he/she has accumulated and teach them to others. Successful leaders can convey ideas and values to energize others and to help them make clear decisive decisions.
Leadership is a crucial part of any organization’s management. In turn, good judgment is a core component of sound leadership. According to Tichy and Warren, the core things one should know about making quality judgments are; a leader is judged by how much of the crucial decision that he or she makes right judgment (16). Secondly, the process of good judgment takes place in three stages preparation, the call (making and communicating the decision), and execution (carrying out the decision). Thirdly judgment calls can be classified into three categories, crisis judgment calls, people judgment calls, and strategy judgment calls. For one to be a good judgment maker he or she needs to have organizational knowledge, self-knowledge, stakeholders’ knowledge, and social network knowledge.
Mills, D. Quinn. How to Lead, How to Live. 2005. Web.
Ricky W. Griffin, and Gregory Moorhead. Organizational Behavior: Managing People and Organizations. Montreal: Cengage Learning, 2007.Print.
Tichy, Noel, M, and Warren G. Bennis. Judgment: how winning leaders make great calls. New York: Penguin. Print.