On this day of joyous celebration for America’s second-favorite breakfast food – National Waffle Day – it’s important to remember that waffles belong on a plate and in your stomach. A strong leader has no room for waffling.
We spoke with three successful businesswomen on the subject of waffling and it’s clear the best leaders believe in themselves and aren’t fearful of making decisions or admitting they need time to think.
Tracy Bullock, membership and growth officer for BNI and president of Bullock Traning and Development, has seen productivity go down and office gossip increase when a leader fails to make a decision.
“It erodes confidence in the company and its leadership and is damaging to retention,” Bullock said
Executive leadership coach Tanya Wheeless works with clients to help maximize their happiness at work. When her clients are weak in their leadership, she sees negative effects.
“In the absence of that leadership, a vacuum is created and confusion usually ensues. Employees lack clear direction and the business suffers,” said the president of Tanya Wheeless Executive Leadership in Tempe.
Waffling also reduces contentment. Two studies of Florida State undergraduate volunteers found that those who get caught up in finding the best option, maximizers, tend to be less committed and less satisfied.
Joyce Ehrlinger, an assistant professor of psychology at Washington State University, researched and wrote about maximizers and their reduced satisfaction. Eherlinger concluded that the lack of contentment creates stress which could negatively affect health.
Bullock, who has worked in several leadership positions, sees people waffle for many reasons, but most often it’s due to pressure, the need for approval and fear of making the wrong decisions. That fear ultimately erodes at contentment.
When faced with a hard or complex decision, Wheeless recommends speaking to a few trusted peers for advice, but ultimately the decision needs to come from you. Getting input from others shouldn’t be used to delay a decision.
“Seeking input from others is great most of the time, but not when it’s an excuse for inaction,” Wheeless said.
Don’t be afraid to take some time to think things through. “Sometimes a leader may say aloud, ‘let me stop and think about that,’” Bullock said. “This allows them to set expectations, review things in their own minds and weigh the potential outcomes against company objectives.”
Founder and CEO of U & Improved, leadership trainer and inspirational speaker Jodi Low has seen indecision in all sorts of people, from attorneys to doctors to administrative assistants to recent college graduates. She feels no matter what field someone’s in, indecision can taint their leadership ability and people’s belief in them.
“When someone can’t make decisions, the feeling they give off is that they lack confidence, that they can’t trust themselves and don’t believe in own their deas,” Low said. “You need to believe in yourself and have confidence. Even if it ultimately is not the right decision you can always course correct.”
Syrupy waffles make for a tasty breakfast and decisiveness makes a great leader. Let’s not mix the two.
-Written by Carolina Lopez digital marketing administrator for the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.