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Help Your Team Make Better Choices

Help Your Team Make Better Choices

Hi folks, I am back after my extended summer break of blogging. I hope you enjoyed the “best of” blogs that I posted during the summer and are eager for more valuable leadership and team building (and a few parenting) insights and information.

Many new people have joined my blogging community in the past few weeks and I would like to send a big WELCOME to you. Others have been reading my posts for years and I greatly appreciate your interest in my work and the valuable time you invest in reading the blog. I promise to give you the best I have in concise, value packed information and stories to help you develop your leadership at work and home.

If you ever have questions or suggestions on my blog topics, speaking assignments or leadership consulting, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at

Now, on with the show…

My editors often find it challenging to edit my PowerPoint presentations, not because of the spelling or grammar alterations needed but because of the lack of information. By their nature, slide decks a meant to support the dialog of the presenter, not to be the full text on the point being covered.

Shawn Stratton (make better decisions)When the editor is faced with rewording a point, their suggested revision it is often not what I am trying to convey. They don’t have the full context of the topic, story or point I am making which will come verbally when the slide is displayed, so they have to guess at the context and come up with a suggested edit.

As a leader, you hold your team members to high standards, you want them to perform to the best of their ability and make the right decisions. If you find your team making poor decisions and not achieving the high standards you set for them, YOU may be the problem.

Too often, we look outwards blaming others when the first step to addressing poor performance in people you are leading, is yourself.

Ask yourself “how have I contributed to their behavior?”

One key many leaders forget when directing a team with goals and tasks is providing the right context for the task. Leaders frequently forget their team doesn’t have the same visibility of the big picture of a project they may be working on. As an executive or project manager, it is your role to have 360° view of everything you are responsible for, as because of this you understand the context of the tasks you are requesting.

People can only make decisions with the information they have.


Bad decision…

The next time you grapple with an employee who has made a poor decision, ask yourself “What context does this person even have?” and “Have I provided the appropriate context for them to make a better decision?”

If you find they knew the full context in which the decision was being made and they still made a bad decision, perhaps a more serious discussion is needed to find out why.

“Having them try to read your mind and guess what you are going to want is not going to work well.”

Which way does he want me to go?

If the team member made a poor decision but given the context they have, perhaps you would have made the same decision, or you could have imagined someone else making the same decision, then you need to be OK with that.

Remember to ask yourself “What context and visibility do I have and what do they have?” Could reprimanding a poor decision be unfair because you are operating from a greater set of information?

The next time I have a slide deck to edit, I will make a point to give the full context (not all the details) of the presentation to them so they have the information that will allow them to a better job with the edit.

Action: Help your team make informed decisions by if taking the time to set context.



Shawn Stratton is an international leadership and team building consultant, professional speaker, bestselling author and Ironman competitor. 

Click here to learn more about how Shawn can help your organization.

© 2016 Shawn Stratton. All rights reserved.