John F. Kennedy on Leadership: The Lessons and Legacy of a President

By John A. Barnes | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 9
Decision Making:
The Buck Stops with You

“Togovern is to choose.”

—JOHN F. KENNEDY

“A master of time.”

—DR. JANET TRAVELL, KENNEDY'S PERSONAL PHYSICIAN,
DESCRIBING HOWJFK MANAGED HIS SCHEDULE

Leaders must make decisions all the time—it's what they do. Different leaders have different approaches to reaching decisions. Some leaders like to study short reports with specific recommendations by the key people involved in the area in question and then arrive at a decision on their own. Others prefer sitting in a room full of advisers, kicking ideas around until a consensus is reached. Still others have one or two highly trusted advisers present when all decisions are made. Some leaders go with their gut reaction to a problem and make decisions on the spot. Many executives delegate decisions—especially the smaller ones—to others; some executives want to be in on every decision, large and small.

As a leader, you must find a way of making decisions that works for you. You need to be comfortable with your decision-making process, and you should be confident in your final decisions. This doesn't mean that you can

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