Charge Ahead or Leave It Alone

Charge Ahead or Leave It Alone - 1Question: How do we determine when we are to charge ahead as leaders or leave it alone and deal with it another day?

We have all been taught in elementary school that we should not put off a kindness until tomorrow that we can do today.  But what about a tough leadership decision?  Is there ever a situation where we would want to put that off for another time down the road?

Charge Ahead or Leave It Alone - 2When is it right to charge ahead and take the bull by the horns and lead in the midst of a difficult situation?  And when is it right to stand back and leave the issue alone and take a more relaxed and non-confrontational approach?  These are legitimate questions that I put before our audience of leaders and readers.  What are your thoughts?  And how did you make the determination regarding the approach that you would take?  Did you ever consider that taking the relaxed approach was a sign of weakness or indecision?  Did it make the situation better or worse by your decision?

I am facing several interesting and difficult leadership challenges right now and I am seeking advice on how to approach these decisions and on the relative merits of each approach.  I hope that you are gaining valuable insights from our many leaders and readers and I hope that you will share some of your own insights with us.

Photo credit: carlossg / / CC BY-NC-SA
Photo credit: Ilweranta / / CC BY
Photo credit: Boston Public Library / / CC BY-NC-ND

2 Replies to “Charge Ahead or Leave It Alone”

  1. Kevin, I like these thoughts, very though provoking. I would like all of our readers to consider a “tactical retreat”. I know a retreat does not sound like it is tactical, but a retreat is not a surrender. I would argue that a retreat is an opportunity to rally the troops and forma better plan. I believe this is what you are getting at here. We should not be afraid of retreating, or maybe keeping a rash thought to ourselves, in favor of stepping back and considering alternate options. Determining which is the better option is the difficult part. I for one am not good at it at all. I tend be quick with decisions and lately seem to be suffering more than normal from bad decisions. So I say, retreat can be the better option, if time allows.

  2. Kevin, I agree with Billy, these are very thought provoking questions. When faced with these challenges it has sometimes worked best for me to step back and analysis the situation. Now granted there are times that do not offer us that luxury but require immediate action.
    I am reminded of a time years ago when I was delivering a load of 45’ steel pipe to a refinery north of Cincinnati. The place they wanted me to unload the pipe was a position in a corner of their facility that has 64k volt power lines crossing at a 90 degree angle. That was a huge first red flag. They had a crane set up and who would have guessed that today would be the day the union operator didn’t show up for work. The crane company however sent over a guy to operate the crane. As he proceeded to move the crane in its axis there wasn’t a smooth a movement to anything he did. Huge red flag number two.
    I know “three strikes and you’re out”, (pardon the pun). Not happening today. I refused to let them unload my truck with that operator in such close proximity to the power lines, one little mishap here could hurt or kill several people including your truly.
    I gave them a choice to either refuse the load, or move to a safer location for unloading. They chose the safer location.
    Most times safety doesn’t allow us the luxury of “time for thinking”. I know it sounds like a crazy thought but having worked in the construction field for many years, you can always walk into a situation that requires decisive action NOW! Sadly however, we hear too often of stories where just the smallest safety item was overlooked and the situation ended in tragedy.
    Then there are the “other” issues involving leadership and managing that require use to carefully choose which battle to fight. A quote I’d heard some time ago for leadership says, “That’s not a hill to die on”. When considering the challenges that come before us, choose your Waterloo carefully.
    I didn’t realize this was running into such a long response but your quests conjured up many thoughts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.