To be a good creative leader, you need to be able to make decisions that move teams and their projects forward. However, according to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, to be an even better leader, you may not want to make any decisions at all. During an interview last week, Hastings explained how success, for him, is making less, not more, decisions. As reported by Quartz, sometimes Hastings goes an entire quarter without making any decisions -- and in some cases, he doesn't even know what decisions are being made.
So why does this make him an effective leader?
In stepping back from decision making, Hastings enables his employees to take charge. His minimal involvement is a way of empowering employees. At Netflix, in order to equip people with the knowledge they need to make the best decisions, information is shared across all employees, regardless of role or title. When people are equipped with knowledge, they are more likely to take responsibility and own decisions and outcomes.
As an added bonus, when employees are able to make decisions about their work, they are more invested in driving toward a successful outcome. They feel a sense of agency that doesn't exist when decisions are handed down to them.
So far, this method has worked for Netflix, which, according to a 2017 report by a firm that measures employee experience, was ranked among the best companies for employee satisfaction.
While you may not be able to leave all decision making to your employees, there are likely moments in which they may be equally or better suited than you to call the shots,
especially when it involves their day-to-day work. The key is to identify these moments and set expectations with your employees around initiating decisions. If you are successful, you can expect to make far fewer decisions going forward.