Mandela assumed the best of people. He said, "It's a good thing to assume, to act on the basis that others are men of integrity and honor, because you tend to attract integrity and honor if that is how you regard those with whom you work. I believe in that." This is a sentiment echoed in the fantastic book Leadership and Self-Deception, "No matter what we're doing on the outside, people respond primarily to how we're feeling about them on the inside." Mandela would say, "Amen."
Mandela was actually known to delay making decisions, but once he made them, he made them decisively. "There are some decisions that may benefit from delay—if you decide that's the case, then fine, don't worry about it. But if you are delaying or avoiding saying no because it is unpleasant, better to do it right away and clearly. You will avoid a heap of trouble in the long run." As Stengel writes of Mandela's view: But he would say that we should not let an illusion of urgency force us to make decisions before we are ready. It is true that there are times when we might miss out on an opportunity, if we do not turn on a dime. But there are also many times when we might make a better deal or do a better job if we act less quickly and play the long game. Better to be slow and considered than to be fast simply in order to appear decisive.
There is a difference between being "decisive" by being hasty and making the quickest judgment you can based on the facts at hand…and being decisive by deciding to to delay a decision in order to gain all available fact. Steve Sample would say, "never make a decision until you have to." Circumstances change, new information comes to light. However, if one is simply putting off something unpleasant, make the decision clearly and move on. Putting it off only makes it worse.
Are leaders typically more prone to procrastinate or rush to judgment? How about you?