Don’t just make decisions, explain them.


Decision-making is an important part of leadership. Whether the decisions are big or small, your team is looking to you to make them, especially when those decisions will have an impact on their everyday operations. 

Many leaders, however, are just making decisions without explaining them to their team. Most leaders have a lot on their plate and it makes them rush through their communications but when it comes to decisions, it’s important to explain why they’ve been made. 

Think of the children in your life: it’s likely that one of their most common questions is “But why?”. Kids are curious about the world and they want answers, even to the questions that might seem obvious to us. Adults are less likely to ask as many questions as kids, but they still want answers. Instead of asking, they often stifle their questions and let the frustration sit with them when they don’t understand why something has been decided. This suppression can create an underlying, dangerous sense of mistrust and unease — especially when decisions are being made that don’t produce a result that your team wants. 

When leaders explain the ‘why’ they: 

Give their team some reassurance

It’s not always possible to give a full explanation of every decision — often there are so many moving parts behind the scenes or there could even be confidential information that you are unable to share. At the end of the day, all your decisions should be aligning with your values and goals, which means you can always provide some sort of explanation as to why the decision was made. 

For some, it might not be a good enough explanation but it can be some comfort when decisions have been made that do not always result in a win-win for your team — the decisions are made for the team and the organisation, it’s not personal. 

Show how decisions align with goals 

As a bonus, when your decisions align with your goals and values, you’re walking the walk. When your team can see you taking action powered by those values and goals, they’re able to see a great example that empowers them to be walking the walk too. 

The decisions you make are just another area in which to be setting an example as a leader. 

Empower their team in their own decisions 

When you give an explanation of your decisions, you’re showing your team another perspective that perhaps they hadn’t considered yet. 

For example, imagine that one of your team members brings you a choice of two pens. The first one is a black gel pen while the second is a blue biro. You choose the blue biro. If you don’t explain your decision, that team member might think that you only ever use blue pens and, next time, bring you a selection of blue pens. 

If you take the time to explain that you prefer the biro because your notepad is glossy, which means that the gel pen would smudge too easily, this means that next time, they can bring you a selection of biros in different colours, rather than only blue pens. 

It’s a light-hearted example, of course, but you can see how simply giving an explanation enables your team to make better decisions going forward. 

If you’re ready to start explaining leadership decisions to your team, People Make the Difference can help. To find out more, visit or call us on 0412 333 415. Try our online leadership training videos – $99 for complete access. Great value if you’re committed to growing your leadership potential.