This is an excellent blog post by Bryan Goldberg, the founder of Bleacher Report. He says the most important managerial skill is “battle-picking,” or the skill of knowing when to let employees make decisions – even decisions that the manager believes to be incorrect – and when to jump in and dictate a solution. On one hand, jumping in all the time would obviously be detrimental to morale and would not allow employees to engage and grow in their own decision-making abilities. On the other hand, just going with the flow and accepting everything your subordinates want to do would diminish alignment of teams and make you irrelevant to the enterprise. Goldberg writes, “My goal is for employees to say, ‘Bryan is really easy-going, and he lets us manage our own affairs . . . except when something really big happens.’”
Along the same lines, good CEOs recognize that not every decision is a bet-the-company decision. In fact, few decisions are. Sometimes the right answer is to give an executive or other leader a chance to make a winning decision or a mistake.