Being an outstanding team leader or manager means that you are able to assemble high-performing teams, effectively navigate day-to-day tasks, manage communication, conflicts and do everything in your power to achieve any given business objective. The most important quality, however, of any manager is the ability to make favorable decisions that will inevitably play out well from a long term perspective. Managers are expected to predict any impact their decisions may have, therefore they must properly calculate and analyze every aspect of their choices.
Managers are often faced with a situation where tough decisions have to be made. Those decisions may not sound good at the moment and may negatively impact team members or a company as a whole, however they are made for a better tomorrow. For example, laying off employees due to reasons such as lack of resources or a difficult market situation is certainly a hard decision to make. From a business perspective, though, you don’t want to keep employees when there’s a financial crisis at the company or if they don’t really have enough work to do.
Other tough but important decisions managers or team leaders are faced with,include deciding whether to close or continue with a questionable project, what financial risks to take and who would be a perfect fit for their team or not.
Being a great-decision maker is a skill that you have to master in order to be a great leader. If you ever consider being in a leadership position, make sure you check out the following five techniques that will help you achieve good results.
What is Decision Making?
First, let’s try to define what decision making is. Simply put, it’s the process of selecting a course of action from among two or more alternatives in order to come up with a solution for a specific issue. The decision-making process, especially done in an organization, is a dynamic and continuous process that plays an important role in the proper functioning of a company. Professional managers and intellectual minds are usually involved in the process of decision making as it often involves a certain level of knowledge, business experience and naturally, mental maturity.
The decision-making process is what makes any organization or business grow. The goal of any decision is to deal with obstacles or issues that may be unfavourable to the business objectives, company vision and mission. Since such issues may arise on a daily basis and they may vary depending on numerous factors, the decision-making process is continuous and highly dynamic, as already mentioned.
The decision-making process usually involves the following steps:
- Define the problem
- Information gathering
- Trying to come up with options
- Decide on the best possible option
- Plan and execute
- Take follow up action
We can conclude that the decision-making process is definitely time-consuming. However, since any administrative, managerial or organizational problem can impact hundreds of employees and the future of the company, spending time and coming up with the best solution is absolutely essential.
Improve your Decision Making Skills with 5 Techniques
1. Involve your Team in the Decision-Making Process
You might be a manager or a team lead but that doesn’t mean you have to lock your office door and spend a couple of days by yourself in a vacuum, trying to figure out what’s the best possible solution to the problem. Involve your team members. Hearing out several different points of view can definitely stimulate creative problem solving. Conduct an effective team meeting and hear what everyone has to say. This technique is especially valid when you have a team of people who have worked together on the same project for many years.
According to a research, decision-making is highly effective when the entire team is involved in it. Through collective decision-making, managers can overcome any hidden biases and consider all the perspectives before making a final decision. Moreover, this is a great way for a manager to learn how to handle teams with a greater level of emotional intelligence.
2. Decision-Making is a Process, Not an Event
Many junior managers think that making a decision is an event. However, it most certainly isn’t. Think of it as a process that requires time, discussion, analysis and collaborative efforts. The role of the manager is to oversee all these activities, carefully analyze the problem and craft a suitable solution.
Making an important decision is not waking up one day and sharing with your team members ideas you came up with while you were in the shower. Decision-making is a process that should be framed with the right questions, analysis and collaboration. It’s a multi-step process that follows a specific structure and if you want to reach a desired outcome, you should stick to that structure.
3. Rely on Data and Meaningful Insights
When managers are faced with a situation where they have to make an important decision, it’s essential to have all the necessary data and information in front of them. Think of the decision-making process as preparing for one of the project management steps. To complete each one, you need to conduct research, plan ahead and assess various factors like team performance, time management, quality of deliverables, etc. To do so, you need data sources such as customer patterns, employee performance, cost optimization avenues, budget analysis and similar.
With these insights at hand, the decision-making will become scientific and fact-based. You will also be in control of the outcome. For example, if you have to decide whether to continue working on a promising product that did not bring enough revenue to the company but cost a lot to produce, you have to use specific numbers as proof that closing the project is the most reasonable solution to the problem.
4. Emphasize the Goals and Purpose of the Decision
During the decision-making process, you will see how easy it is to lose sight of the goals and purpose of the decision put on the table. A lengthy discussion with your team regarding the impacts of the decision can quickly turn into a heated debate over things that have little or nothing to do with the goal of the decision.
Therefore, to avoid a common management pitfall, you should repeatedly emphasize on the goals and purpose of the decision-making process. Clearly state them at the beginning of the team meeting and remind everyone of them whenever you feel the discussion is drifting towards something irrelevant to the issue.
When there’s a complex issue at stake, such as a huge organizational change, for example, you have to be absolutely clear with the goal of that decision and make sure each team member understands how their contributions will tie into a larger objective.
Another decision making example could be solving the issue of employee productivity. Naturally, the desired goal is to increase the efficiency and productivity of your team. To do so, you have to at all times think towards that direction - how to boost work productivity?
5. Trust Your Instincts and Experience
At the end of the day, it’s all about managerial instinct and proven experience. Some of the world’s greatest leaders rely on their intuition to reach the final decision. Our professional growth depends on our ability to make good decisions that will drive favourable outcomes. Every minute you spend perfecting your decision-making skills by using your intuition, gut feeling or instinct is a minute well spent. Learn not to ignore your inner voice and you will definitely make better decisions.
With time, you will also accumulate enough experience to know what will work best for a specific situation. When experience meets intuition, you can be certain that you’re taking the right steps towards a desired outcome.
Being a decision maker is tough but there are things you can do that will help you enhance your decision-making capabilities. Without learning those techniques, you can’t advance your career or become a better manager.
The above-mentioned techniques are just some of the things you should take into consideration when faced with an important decision as every company, organization, business or team is different. One thing is for sure - listen carefully to what everyone has to say and give yourself time to make the right decision.