Leaders Enable Other Leaders to Make Better Decisions

Every coin has two sides; for every Yin there is a Yang. When you think about leaders, you probably think about followers.  But in the world of influence, you might be wrong: many leaders seek out ways to influence others “leaders”, in order to increase their impact.

Social psychology – which deals with the influence of other people on one another – led to the creation of behavioral economics, which focuses on decisions of economic value. You’re probably familiar with some of the popular thought leaders in this area, including Daniel Kahnemann (e.g., Thinking Fast and Slow), and Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein (e.g., Nudge). The goal isn’t to understand the personality make-up of leaders. Rather, the focus is on helping people lead their life better and/or helping others do that, by changing the information available and how it’s processed to make better decisions.

I have the privilege of working with these kinds of leaders through many of the companies with which I work. 

  • At Vistage Worldwide, 25000+ CEOs join to make better decisions so they can be more effective leaders of their organizations. They participate in Peer Advisory Boards which serve as mastermind groups that help members resolve challenges to leadership, strategy, culture, etc. by sharing each’s experiences and perspectives, so they can gain fresh insights.
  • At Age Brilliantly, an interactional community platform for adults who want to lead a long, fulfilling lives, seek information, inspiration, support and tools from peers, experts and service providers, in order to make better life decisions as they navigate their lifepath to 100+.


In their book, Decision Leadership: Empowering Others To Make Better Choices,  Don Moore and Max Bazerman provide an overview of the things you can do to create environments which prompt others to make better decisions to influence their lives and those of others.  They note positive things we can do, including making space for thoughtful deliberation (as the two organizations I noted allow you to do), as well as identify the decision-biases that will deter good decision-making. Four of the ones that they mention include:

  • Availability bias –limiting the decision to the information currently available
  • Confirmation bias – seeking out information that confirms what we already thought 
  • Representativeness – accepting the correlations of information rather than seeking for cause-effect
  • Framing – making decisions based on the framework of the information, instead of the actual data.

For a more comprehensive list, see 12 Cognitive Biases.

At Presentation Excellence, we help clients learn how to influence the audience so they can make effective decisions to “buy-in” to their proposition. Similarly, we help the presenters learn how to withstand the biases that can lead to a bad decision. Are you paying attention to the factors leading to both? Given that our attention spans continue to shrink, paying attention to such factors becomes more and more important.

If you need help – as a presenter or decision-maker – let us know!

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