I've been sporting a new hat this winter. With all of the travel out west during the 4th quarter, my wife suggested I treat myself to something fun during one of more intense trips, so I picked out a black cowboy-style hat. Yesterday during the monthly Central Iowa Bloggers' Summit, my fellow-bloggers teased me about the whole "shoot 'em up, Tex" image. Of course, Mike Sansone wryly observed that all I had to do was smile and the whole bad cowboy image was shot (no pun intended).
In business, we tend to give a bad name to those who make authoritative decisions. Sometimes, that reputation is earned as authoritative decision-making is their ONLY style. I once had a boss who informed me that my input existed only for her amusement. However, the other end of the spectrum is almost as bad. I've seen leaders who are too consensus-oriented. They care so much about the opinions of all of the stakeholders that when the time comes for a decision, it becomes difficult to move forward.
I discovered David McDermott's site recently, and he had a post last November comparing and contrasting the different decision-making styles. The point David makes is to place an emphasis on flexibility and balance. The decision-making style should fit the situation, environment, stakeholders, and expertise available.
The other trick is to be respectful of others' decision-making styles and to consider all the above factors when someone uses a decision-making style with which we may not agree. They may know some things we don't. Certainly, there's room for dialogue and discussion in these situations, but there's a reason why it's called leadership. Occasionally, the leader has to step up and take ownership for the decision... preferably without the cowboy hat and the six-shooter.