Whether you’re running an up-and-coming start-up or handling a small team in a big corporation, being a leader is one of the most difficult roles you can ever have.
You need to be able to protect the company’s interests as well as meet the needs of your employees.
You also need to make accurate performance appraisals and decide who gets promoted and who walks. Above all, you need to be right.
Your ability to not only be decisive, but to be right, is the value you bring to your team as a leader.
That being said, here are some tips on how to improve your decision-making skills:
1. Gather Relevant Information
Exhaust your resources before coming to a decision.
Assess the amount of time you have before having to make a decision and use it to find out as much as you can about the problem.
2. Think Economically
- Do your independent research, gather data, and find out what you know.
- Consult your superiors and colleagues. Valuable information and wisdom sits in all rungs of the organizational ladder.
- Consider how past issues relate to the problem and what has been done to resolve them. What has changed since? Can a similar resolution work for this problem? What are the other factors that need to be considered?
To think economically is to understand whether the benefit is worth the cost.
When faced with a decision, you often have multiple options. Evaluate and consider the pros and cons of each option to know which one is the best.
3. Allow Healthy Distractions
Constantly thinking about the problem doesn’t always get you the answer.
Chances are, you’re already stressed, drained and no longer in the best mental state to come up with a decision.
If you’re not under time pressure, allow yourself to be distracted and step away from the problem for a bit.
Take a short walk, chat with a co-worker (not about work!), take a nap. You need to replenish your mental resources to make sure you come up with the best decision.
4. Be Aware of Your Personal Biases
No one is immune to personal biases. Whether we care to admit it, we all have them.
This, however, doesn’t mean that we’re doomed to let personal biases do the decision-making for us for all eternity.
After considering all of the data you’ve gathered and before making a decision, ask yourself if:
- Your decision is not affected by a baseless assumption
- Your decision has nothing to do with personal preference
- Your decision is being made based on an objective understanding of what will work
5. Forgive Yourself for Past Mistakes
We’ve all beaten ourselves up over past mistakes. We sulk even if it does nothing to fix what’s already done.
To make matters worse, we end up using our present energy dwelling on past mistakes instead of spending our mental resources wisely.
Don’t let the failures of the past affect your future decisions. Own up to it, forgive yourself, and come back wiser.
When you’re asked to come up with a template for the perfect leader, a number of qualities come to mind.
Confident, honest, a good communicator, the list goes on.
But in the end, what truly matters is the ability to make the right call. Decision-making is what gets things done.
How Can Leaders Work on Decision Making?
If you have ideas you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!
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