On December 10 2013, South Africa’s then President Jacob Zuma appointed an unknown and pliable backbencher Des van Rooyen as finance minister. However, following an unprecedented outcry, Zuma removed Van Rooyen on December 13, replacing him with Pravin Gordhan. Van Rooyen was subsequently mocked on social media as ‘Weekend Special’- the title of a famous Brenda Fassie song.
In similar fashion, our own Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro appointed Lekhetho Mosito as defence minister on February four, only to sack him 11 days later amid much-publicised discontent from another cabinet minister Tefo Mapesela.
Well, they say a wise man changes his mind. But, Majoro’s action could at best be described as an acknowledgement of a blunder.
This also reeks of indecisiveness on the part of the PM. It once again calls into question his capabilities as a leader. Indecisive leadership is a crippling character trait for leaders. According to experts, when your organization needs clear direction and decisive action, a waffling leader can cause more harm than good.
With so much at stake, why do leaders waffle and struggle with decision making? Three primary reasons come to mind.
They lack clarity. Leaders who struggle with decision making may lack the necessary clarity needed to make the necessary decision. Rather than making the wrong decision, they make no decision at all.
They lack confidence. In some situations, leaders withhold decision making because they are not confident enough in their own instincts. Rather than take a risk and make a decision, they play it safe and everyone is left dangling.
They lack consensus. In some cases, leaders withhold decision making because they don’t have a consensus on the best path forward. Rather than offend a few with a decision, the leader demoralizes everyone by not making one.
Leadership is about making hard decisions. Indecisive leaders make it harder–on themselves and those they lead.
Your path forward begins by acknowledging what your indecisive tendencies are doing to your leadership and how it’s impacting the morale of those you lead.
When it comes to leadership, the people you lead eventually begun to be like you, they become a reflection of you. If you don’t have competence, over time, the people you lead begin to behave like you (and you attract a lot of your kind). Only the leader sets the tone for sane behaviour.