Decision Leadership: Empowering Others to Make Better Choices

How to make and encourage wise, more ethical decisions in your organization.

When we think of leaders, we often imagine lone, inspirational figures lauded for their attributes, behaviors, and personal decisions—and leadership books often reinforce that view. However, a leader’s success depends not only on their ability to make good decisions but also on their ability to help others make wise choices. This is called decision leadership. As a result, a leader’s impact grows because it ripples out instead of relying on one individual to play the part of heroic figure. The approach can also foster more cohesive, empowered organizational culture. This research shows how organizations can be viewed as “decision factories” in which effective leaders are “decision architects,” enabling those around them to make wise, ethical choices consistent with their own interests and the organization’s highest values.

This discussion, Decision Leadership: Empowering Others to Make Better Choices is led by Don Moore and Max H. Bazerman and moderated by Deepak Malhotra.

Don Moore is the Lorraine Tyson Mitchell Chair in Leadership and Communication at Haas School of Business and serves as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at UC Berkeley. He received his PhD in Organization Behavior from Northwestern University. His research interests include overconfidence—including when people think they are better than they actually are, when people think they are better than others, and when they are too sure they know the truth. He is only occasionally overconfident.

Max H. Bazerman is the Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. His recent books include Better, Not Perfect, The Power of Experiments (with Michael Luca), The Power of Noticing, Judgment in Managerial Decision Making (with Don Moore), and Blind Spots (with Ann Tenbrunsel).

Bazerman received an honorary doctorate from the University of London, the Life Achievement Award from the Aspen Institute’s Business and Society Program, the Distinguished Educator Award from the Academy of Management, the Academy of Management Career Award for Scholarly Contributions to Management, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Organizational Behavior Division of the Academy of Management. In addition, Bazerman was named as Ethisphere’s 100 Most Influential in Business Ethics and as one of Daily Kos’ Heroes for going public about how the Bush Administration corrupted the RICO Tobacco trial.

Deepak Malhotra is a professor at Harvard Business School and the award-winning author of Negotiation Genius (with Max Bazerman) and Negotiating the Impossible. He is an advisor to CEOs across the globe, and to governments that are aspiring to end or prevent armed conflicts.

In 2020, Malhotra launched a new course at Harvard, entitled War & Peace: The Lessons of History for Strategy, Leadership, Negotiation, Policy and Humanity. Also in 2020, he was named Business School “Professor of the Year” by Poets & Quants. He has won numerous awards for his teaching & research, including the HBS Faculty Award, and has been twice selected by Harvard MBA students to give the end-of-year speech to the graduating class. In 2014, Malhotra was listed as one of the “world’s best business school professors” under the age of 40.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *