Why do leaders make bad decisions? – Karthik Siva

google karthik culture

Leaders often make bad decisions.

You may wonder – why is that?

To address this question, it is important to understand what it really takes to make a good decision. The answer is surprisingly simple – it is clarity.

The ancestor of all good decisions is almost always mental clarity. When the mind is not clear, a leader ends up making bad judgement calls.

Let’s quickly look at how mental clarity gets compromised. I will explore three things that cloud clarity.


A big ego dramatically diminishes the mental clarity of a leader. This is because she is compelled to take everything personal and makes important judgement calls where “We” is ignored and “I” is magnified’!

This lays the ground for arbitrary, authoritarian and biased decision making.

Blind Spots

Let’s face it – everyone has blind spots. If you are Chinese, you may unconsciously end up working or collaborating mostly with other Chinese people or institutions.

If you are Christian, you may gravitate towards other Christians and may ignore the rest.

Your race can be a blind spot.

Your gender can be a blind spot.

If you are a guy, you may mistakenly believe that women may not be suited for certain roles.

Leaders can often make decisions based on unverified personal assumptions. All of these are blind spots.

These are subtle and insidious. As the saying goes – “It is not what you don’t know that will
kill you. It is what you think you know, but actually don’t.”

Bad Mental Habits

Nobody is truly immune to bad mental habits.

These mental habits may be procrastination. It maybe avoidance of conflict.

An obsessive pursuit of perfectionism is yet another popular bad habit.

Another common habit is the inability to get into the small details before a big decision is taken.

All these habits compromise clarity and impair sound decision making.

How well do you rate your decision making capability?

Are any of these factors diminishing your mental clarity?

How do you plan to address them?

Karthik Siva is a highly acclaimed and respected international strategy consultant, nation branding expert and leadership mentor to CEOs and entrepreneurs. He is the Chairman of Global Entrepreneur Xchange, the founding Chairman of Global Brand Forum, Asia’s most influential Forum for brands, business and leadership, described by BBC as the “Davos of Branding” and by Straits Times Singapore as the “World Cup of Branding”.

Karthik is also a highly sought after keynote speaker and trainer in international and regional forums. Karthik’s leadership and expertise has been recognized and commended by several CEOs and entrepreneurs including Nobel prize winner and former Vice President of the United States – Al Gore. Karthik is also the author of Tools, Tips & Thoughts for Entrepreneurs, SPARK and How to Present and Persuade with Power?.

MARKETING Magazine is not responsible for the content of external sites.

The APPIES is an annual event that presents a rare opportunity for creative, media, digital and marketing agencies or brands to present their best campaigns to the industry.

This is the only event where Live Presentations meets Live Judging.

Similar to TED Talks, The APPIES is the chance for great presenters with outstanding work to show it off to some of the industry’s most important industry leaders.

This year’s winners will receive Gold, Silver or Bronze trophies for 21 categories, and 6 special Best of Best categories (red trophies) that require no submissions!

Campaign entries must have run between June 2023 to May 2024

Submissions Deadline
30th June 2024

APPIES Festival – Judging & Presentations
11th – 12th July 2024 (Malaysia)


Download Event PDF
Submit Entries Here

Subscribe to our Telegram channel for the latest updates in the marketing and advertising scene