For leadership to be authentic, we have to make decisions and take risks. The reason we’re hired into a position of leadership is to do just that; and if we’re too timid to use the authority our boss gives us then we’re not doing our jobs. In the military as in many professions, we strive to solve problems at the lowest level. “Delegating up” to the senior leaders in any organization is a sure-fire way to create organizational paralysis, but the responsibility to ensure decisions get made at the appropriate level fall on senior and junior leaders alike.
Senior leaders have to fight the urge to solve all the team’s problems for them. It’s tempting, because senior leaders didn’t rise to their lofty positions in the organization by sitting on their hands and letting others do the work. Senior leaders got their positions of leadership by, well, leading. However, once a leader passes into the senior/executive level, he or she takes on a different role. As they taught us at the Eisenhower School, “What got you here isn’t going to make you successful here,” which of course means senior leaders must learn new skills to compliment the ones that made them a successful leader at lower levels. For example, they can’t be involved in all–or even most–of the tactical decisions in the organization. Senior leaders have to have their eyes on the horizon, and be thinking several moves ahead.