A bad manager rules by committee

Just as Gordon Brown to'd and fro'd on just about everything when he first came into power, so the bad manager bounces decisions around like a bouncy ball in a squash court.

"There are just too many conflicting opinions," bad manager cries, trying to accommodate all of them and ending up with a messy amalgam of half-results rather than one clear, focused, productive outcome.

Stop. Breathe. You can't please everybody. Yes, of course it is vital to take others' viewpoints on board. Particularly your most senior members of staff. But ultimately, just one decision needs to be made, and it needs to be made by you. No company can survive without a strong, decisive leader - whether it's a FTSE-100 super-business or a three-man door-to-door sales startup.

Without leadership, there is nothing but chaos. A team needs direction. You may feel uncomfortable asserting yourself and going against the wider grain of opinion, but it's you that your team turns to for focus, targets and strategy. You have to be the one making those crucial decisions.

Don't, for heaven's sake, spend days listening endlessly to all your senior employees, trying to find a happy medium. There isn't one.

Letting yourself become flummoxed by multiple opinions wastes a hell of a lot of time. You can sit in a boardroom for hours going round in dizzying, nausea-inducing circles, and the only thing you'll learn is that most of your employees are stubborn.

Dithering makes people question your strength of character and, by default, your ability as a leader.
You need to distance yourself from individuals and make a judgement. Spelling out the one, clear path of action may put out those who suggested a different route forward, but it will give your company direction. It will inspire your employees with confidence. It means everyone can move forward. It puts an end to that pointless internal bickering.

You're the boss, and both you and your employees need to know that you're the boss precisely because, more often than not, you do know best.

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