Consider this statement, “Lack of clear thinking leads to poor decisions.”

It seems obvious, right? However, clarity goes beyond decisions being made at the executive level.

When clarity is present, people have the freedom that is created by clear boundaries—employees are freed up to do their work, not protect themselves from attacks by others with different expectations.

Clarity is influenced by the amount of confidence one has in one’s opinion, which is all we really have regarding our view of the world.  Research into successful people in the workplace by Dr. Dan Harrison* showed a paradoxical relationship between two independent variables:  confidence in one’s opinions (certainty), and the tendency to reflect on many different viewpoints (open/reflective).

As a leader desiring to provide a clear vision of the future, or clear boundaries around the responsibilities of a particular role you would want enough certainty to have clarity.  Caveat:  an excess of certainty is dogmatic, when others hear the underlying message, “I’m right, I’m right, I’m right, and I am not changing my opinion.  Ever.”

Conversely, too much open/reflective thinking is inconclusive.  The line outside the door of an inconclusive decision maker who is taking input on a decision favors the last guy in line!  Those in between will hear, “that’s a great idea,” “that’s a great idea,” “that’s a great idea too!”

The optimal relationship between these paradoxical positions is high certainty AND high open/reflective; the tendency to explore different viewpoints and formulate conclusions without becoming fixed in one’s opinions.

To read more about what specific actions you can take and my recommended reading for this topic, download my complimentary eBook, 7 Costly Mistakes Senior Executives Make.