Boss 4 : What if your Boss cant make a Decision ?

I see that many Leadership development and MBA programs talk about the “Leadership Skills” and “How to be a Good Manager”… and others. Interestingly, no one is interested in “How you should not be as a bad leader/boss/manager”.  This is my attempt to write on my own experiences and those of my friends and colleagues. Decision Making seems to be one of the inherent quality of a Boss (this Boss could be a leader or manager). Never the less people are often surprised and confused thinking why their Boss can’t make a “Decision”. You would think that it is the time to make THE Decision irrespective of a GOOD or BAD decision. A Decision is needed for many people in Personal and Professional life because of some obvious reasons…

  • A Decision gives you the Direction of Action. Without which one would be wandering in space without knowing what should be done.
  • A Decision helps you to Focus. If not, one is doing some part of many things and may feel that there is no sense of fulfilment.
  • A Decision helps you to Eliminate other Options and Pick One. One can reach destination only by choosing a Single Path and not by choosing more than one Path.
  • A Decision removes the Feeling of Unknown (and confusion).
  • In the end, a Bad Decision can be reworked but you can not do anything about No Decision.

There could be many bad decisions taken by bosses but at least that gives a sense of direction to the team that works for him. And now, there will be so many instances that you think your boss is not able to take a decision and you are paying a heavy price for that. You are driven in to more and more uncertainty and confusion when your Boss postpones or procrastinate a decision. Following are some of the issues that may and could cause your Boss’s inability to take a decision.


At times your Boss is given that position not because he is worth that position but there is no one to fill that position. So, this Boss always feels obligated to his Boss (Super-Boss). He can not even approve a purchase order worth $25 as he is not sure if his Boss will approve the same. In this case your Boss knows that he is not worth that position and so does the Super Boss. The Boss is very paranoid about each and everything that you do. He may even think that you are his competitor.

If you get 1 million dollars in Lottery. You may not feel bad to pay 40% tax to state. It’s Free money any way.

Super Boss’s Pet

This Boss is given the position because Super Boss thinks he needs some one “Who knows him” and “Does not question him” in whatever he does. In this case even if your Boss knows what is the “Right” decision, he will not make it unless it comes from Super Boss.

You lick mine and i lick yours.


Some Bosses feel that they achieved a great thing in life by becoming “Boss”. Once people become content, their urge to do “Good” work and “move ahead in the ladder” dies. This is not to forget that the manager may be definitely capable and intellectual…its just that at this point of life he feels content and they don’t have the drive.

Contentment curtails growth.

Fear of Failure

Some don’t want to make a decision unless it comes from his Boss. These people like to take the credit if some thing is a Success else they feel nice to pass the Failure back to the Boss. They want to say that, “I did this because you asked me to do”. Where as they themselves would want to postpone the point of decision as long as possible.

Biggest failure is not to make a decision and not to fail.

Of course, you may have seen many more reasons or subsets of above. This kind of Boss seems to be very painful as working with him will not give you any sort of contentment or growth. Sometimes the only way to get out of the situation is to come out of the team or company. Though, i have seen very few who took the charge and jumped the hierarchy to become his boss’s peer.

A Boss is a Boss. If you can’t change him, learn to handle him.

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One Response to Boss 4 : What if your Boss cant make a Decision ?

  1. Your post is an interesting insight into why some bosses cannot make decisions at all.

    A related problem is that many cannot make good decisions. The reason, in my observations so far, seems to be that bosses are not made bosses because of their decision making skills, but because they are good at knowing and sucking-up to the right people, project a (usually faulty) impression that they are competent towards others, etc.

    Generally, high intelligence, good instincts, the will to dive into the theory, the wish to improve, whatnot, tend to correlate with introversion; however, career success correlates with extraversion.

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