'It's only in our decisions that we are important.'
Next time you're bored in a meeting, try this.
A Decision will be made.
It can be now. In a few seconds. Later today. Tomorrow. Next year.
One absolute certainty is that a Decision will be made. (Even by default.)
You don't know what the decision will be - you know there will be one. Thus it's almost irrelevant.
Use this certainty as a reference point to work out who are the managers and who are the leaders in the meeting.
The managers will be the ones assembling their dot points for their post-mortem speeches in case the Decision goes wrong. (Most likely to be delivered in hushed tones and with eye rolls in the tea room. 'I tried to tell them that....but they...')
The leader will be holding the space. (She may not be the person at the head of the table by the way.)
She's allowing for the Five Steps - the deliberate process of inquiry - to run its course.
She knows that if she makes a decision that advances her towards where she wants to be - that she cannot make a bad decision.
Her wisdom about the answer liberates her to focus on others.
Watch the leader bravely hold the space. She listens. Asks questions. Listens. Questions. Listens. Listens.
Watch the managers and others compete to fling the most words, statements, fears, challenges, complaints, criticisms, and egos within and against the boundaries of that safe space being held for them by the leader.
Spot the manager promoted one or more steps above his competence. You can tell him by his confident assertions. His aim is to declare his opinion rather than to allow it to be tested by the evidence. (That would be too risky.) He wants to be seen as decisive. Sure. Stable. Knowledgeable. Courageous. He does so with the luxury of knowing that he doesn't have to make the decision.
The real bravery in the room is in the leader. Risking being seen as weak. Indecisive. Uncommunicative. As she's talked over. As she holds the space. As she listens.
As she serves everyone else.
Including you. Learning from her as you watch, safe in the space she's created for you. (Guess what - she knows you're watching.)
Regardless of whether it's her decision that is made or followed, she's a leader. Because she created the space and invited you to enter and become who you are.
Allowed you to advance towards your Widget on the way to building hers.
Decisions don't make us important.
The Deciding does.
[Never spotted a leader in a meeting? Of course not. Good leaders are rare.]