I disagree to some extent. Tough decisions are never easy to make and I can certainly recall agonizing over truly difficult decisions. But, ultimately, your values do lead you to your final decisions.
I can recall thinking as a college student that all the philosophy classes I had to take were a waste of time and effort. Then as I grew in my years in education, I came to realize that when the tough times came, I reverted back to my philosophy classes and the values that I garnered from those classes.
Early in my head coaching career we had a game where our time-keeper inadvertently kept the clock running late in a game. We were winning by 3 points at the time, so the less time remaining was beneficial to us.
The opposing coach went to the referees and told them about the error. I had not been watching the clock and was not aware of the error. When the refs came to me and told me what happened, my response was simple – put whatever time you believe should be added to the clock.
After the game, a parent came to me and told me how wrong I was to add the time. His rationale was that opposing coaches would not do that for us in their gyms.
The decision was an easy one for me. We certainly wanted to win but only to win the right way. Winning by cheating our opponent on clock-time was not the right way. If opposing coaches did not have that value and would not put time back on the clock in their gyms, so be it. That represented their values, not ours.
The above example, which I use frequently in my motivational speaking engagements, was an easy one. Dismissing an athlete from a team, firing people, and any decision that hurts people personally or financially are tough decisions. But, they too, get back to values. As a leader your primary responsibility is to do what is in the best interest of the organization you are leading. Decisions ultimately get back to your values.
Values do drive a leader’s decision-making. A leader, therefore, must know what his/her values are.