(NPR) Decision Time: Why Do Some Leaders Leave A Mark?

“The very best decisions, the decisions that go down in history, [the ones where] we look back at that person and think, ‘wow, they’re a genius,’ is when they say, you know, ‘we’re going to do this,’ and all the experts say, ‘no, that’s an awful idea, you know, don’t do that’ and they do it anyways and it works and it works out,” [Gautam] Mukunda says.

Mukunda has just completed a detailed analysis of 40 U.S. presidents. He’s found that the greatest presidents didn’t just make the right calls. The reason we think of them as indispensable is because the calls they made? Everyone around them thought those decisions were terrible mistakes.

Think of it this way: If the right decision is obvious, it doesn’t really matter who the leader is. The next person in line would make the exact same decision.

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