Are you the kind of leader who likes to facilitate consensus? The right answer is, “That depends.”

I've observed over the years that leaders tend to have a “default” style and a favorite decision-making process. Some are more comfortable making command-and-control decisions, while others prefer to collaborate with their subordinates and peers. The most effective leaders I've observed use the LEADERSHIP SPECTRUM PRIME and match the decision process to each situation.

The LEADERSHIP SPECTRUM PRIME was made crystal clear to me when I had the privilege of watching a Marine Corps general in the midst of criticizing his fellow officers for overusing the command-and-control decision process of combat. He drew the LEADERSHIP SPECTRUM on a flip chart and told his officers, “We cannot use command and control to develop our vision. When you guys were colonels getting ready to lead a charge on an enemy installment, the last thing your young Marines wanted to do was ‘brainstorm’ for the wisdom of the crowd. They needed you to issue orders with confidence and from deep experience. But we are not colonels. We are general officers at the headquarters of the US Marines Corps. We are preparing the USMC for the future. My expectation is that each and every day you will be moving across this spectrum. I want you to put four decision processes, from across this spectrum, in your ...

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