This! You nailed it.
Often it's a case of just taking the responsibility to make a decision. [...] They can then go away, confident that if it all goes tits up, I'll be there to pick up the pieces and protect them from the shit heading their way.
Thank you, you have condensed a large chunk of management literature into a paragraph. If I were to further reduce it: Be human and recognise that everyone else is too.
Yes, it all sounds trivial and will neither sell any books nor book me (or you) a TED talk, but this is the really hard stuff. You can learn about economics and business administration, read the text books, do case studies and attend all the motivational seminars, trainings and retreats, but as long as you don't realise that people are complex, more so than technology or processes, and have some empathy you will focus on the wrong things and eventually fail as a manager.