You have to make one!
“A good leader is open-minded and takes into consideration other ideas and points of view,” says Jennifer Lee Magas, vice president of Magas Media Consultants, who has a background in HR and employment law. “Having a narrow-minded approach to decision-making can limit your growth as a leader, and you may be missing out on a decision that could actually benefit you and the company.”
Because each decision is different, leaders would be wise to choose the appropriate decision-making style for the situation at hand, says Marie Hansen, Dean of the College of Business at Husson University in Maine.
“Determining which style to use and when requires an understanding of your authority and role as leader, the expectations of your team, and the types of decisions to be made,” Hansen says. “Leaders who remain transparent in the manner in which they make decisions and why they choose different styles, dependent on the type of decision, are able to build trust and respect.”
Four commonly recognized decision-making styles are:
Directive. The leader uses his or her knowledge and past experience to reach a decision without seeking information from others. The advantage is that decisions can be reached quickly; the disadvantage is that the leader might not consider the long-term ramifications.
Conceptual. The leader seeks ideas from team members, which encourages creativity and innovation. This style is suited for long-term projects and planning.
Analytical. The leader relies on direct observation, facts and data.
Behavioral. The leader collaborates with others on options and is highly influenced by their feelings and opinions. The downside: If a consensus can’t be reached, the leader must choose a different approach.
Dave Ramsey, author of EntreLeadership (Howard Books, 2011) who trains leaders on better decision-making, says the key steps include:
- Set a deadline. “Procrastination can be avoided by setting a self-imposed deadline,” Ramsey says.
- Gather many options. “Quality decisions come from having the most options—find them,” he says. “Options have the power to remove fear.”
- Determine the worst-case scenario. “When you emotionally digest the absolute worst-case, you can make the call with a degree of confidence,” he says.
- Follow your guiding values. “When you have a clear sense of ethics, you can make decisions more easily and quickly,” he says.
With all of that said, there comes a time when you have all the information you are going to get, and waiting for/searching for more will simply lead to decision paralysis. Whilst on occasion choosing not to act might be the right/best option, in most cases making a decision is better than leaving it to fate/chance. Even a “wrong” decision gives rise to the option to reflect/review and improve for the future.