Better decision-making for leadership
Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do. Steve Jobs
From the moment we wake up in the morning we start making decisions. These decisions range from the trivial, like what shoes to wear, right up to the larger more complex organisational decisions that impact your employees, board members, family members, and customers. To be a great decision-maker you need to make choices with clarity and objectiveness, and your decisions need to be justifiable.
However, as a leader there are certain thinks that affect your decision-making ability.
- Over thinking
- Seeking perfection
- Too many people involved
- Invested emotions
- Lack of emotional attachment
- Too much information
Here are our tips to overcome these challenges and become a more confident, decisive leader.
Set a time-frame
While some decisions require immediate action, others require more investigation. Either way, it’s important to identify your timeframe and give yourself a decision-making deadline. Don’t procrastinate, if you have the same information at hand, the decision won’t be any easier a week from now.
If it’s a complex decision and you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to take time out and revisit it in another coupe of days. Sometimes a little space is all you need to clear your mind and find the answer.
In some situations you can have too much information. Having too many choices can make the decision even harder, so if possible, narrow your options and make a list of your top 3 or 5 preferences.
Leaders need to be self-aware and develop a healthy understanding of their emotions. Depending on the scale of the decision, decision-making can induce feelings of anxiety and stress. Self-awareness will help a leader balance these emotions, recognising them, but letting them go when it’s time to make a decision. If you develop self-awareness you’ll learn to identify your strengths and weaknesses and you’ll know when you need to turn to others for help.
As a leader it’s important to trust yourself and be confident in your decisions, but it’s equally important to know when to collaborate with others.
Gathering input from others will ensure you stay well informed. You will have a better understanding of the impact your decision has on others and if you have no prior experience with the issue you are making a decision on, collaborating will also help you identify with the topic and see it from an empathetic point of view.
In most organisations there is an overabundance of information, so as a leader you must narrow your focus and seek out the information that is relevant. However, remember to check the source. How credible are they? Are they telling you what they think you want to hear? Do they have any bias?
Pros and cons
Go back to basics and write a pros and cons list. This frames the decision and lets you see the negative and positives alongside one another. It’s important to be critical of your each choice, so there are no surprises when you make your final decision.
Depending on the context of the decision, a good way to understand its full impact is to complete a SWOT analysis. This is great for larger scale decisions and will identify the short and long term effects. A SWOT analysis identifies the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats concerning the choices.
Know when to trust your intuition
Although it seems like a highly emotional response, trusting your intuition, or gut instinct, is actually based upon your past experiences. Therefore, the more you know about the topic, the choices and the impact of your decision, the more you can trust your intuition.
Decision-making is definitely one of the harder tasks to master as an emerging leader, but with the right knowledge you can fine-tune your decision-making skills. In module 2 of Forme’s BSB51915 Diploma of Leadership and Management you can learn more about the decision-making process, and what it takes to become a well-respected, confident and decisive leader.