Tips for Effective Decision Making

Effective decision making is such an important element of being an effective and influential leader. Making decisions is an aspect of leadership that simply cannot be avoided. There isn’t a soul among us who is immune to making poor decisions once in a while. However, there are a few tricks of the trade that when put into practice dramatically cut down on the backlash of making bad choices.

It may seem silly to think that you need to have strategies for making decisions, but as we all know, in certain situations decision making can can seem nearly impossible! Sometimes the stakes just seem to great and the situation is so overwhelming that we become almost incapable of coming to a sound conclusion.

Next time you’re faced with this dilemma, remember these tips:

  1. Get your facts straight. Before you do anything else, make certain that you have all of your facts together. Look at the situation from every angle and make sure you gather all facts from each perspective and that they are accurate. You wouldn’t want to make a decision off of inaccurate or incomplete knowledge.
  2. Weigh the pros and cons. Once you have all of your facts, weigh out the pros and cons of each choice and WRITE THEM DOWN! Having a concrete, tangible list of factual pros and cons will give you a clear, visual idea of what is the better of your choices and you can start making eliminations.
  3. Get other perspectives. Depending on your situation, it may be wise to ask others for their opinions or advice on the matter. Ask someone who is experienced in the subject, or ask people who may be directly affected by your decision.
  4. BUT be selective with who you ask. Don’t ask for too many opinions and remember to take advice with a grain of salt. It is your decision to make and ultimately, you are the one who will be most affected by it. Too many people let others influence their decisions and if you allow others to steer you against your gut instinct, you will forever regret it if it doesn’t work out. It is fine to ask for reasonable advice, but don’t let others overstep their boundaries.
  5. Listen to your instincts. It can be really hard to listen to what your gut is telling you when you are being pulled in so many directions. When your fears are creeping in and other people’s advice is influencing you, it is hard to hear what your heart is trying to tell you. The best way to find out is to go to your happy place and silence all of the outside commotion. Go to the beach or go for a walk. Take a long bath and listen to your favorite music. Do whatever helps you feel most relaxed try to let the answer just come to you.
  6. Understand that there is no perfect decision. We tend to get too wrapped up in the concept of making the right decision. In some circumstances…Yes, there is a “right” decision. However, in many situations, there are just decisions that either work out really well or not so well. Most of the time, you’ll never even know how the other decision would have turned out. So, there’s no use stressing about it once you’ve made the choice.
  7. Once you’ve made a decision, stick to it. Once you have gathered all of your facts, weighed out the pros and cons, sought out advice, and come to your decision, you need to stick with it. Many people come to a conclusion and then second guess themselves. Don’t do that! You’ll drive yourself bananas! You have already done everything you can to prepare yourself to make the best choice possible. Go with it, and get ready for the next decision coming your way.

Being self-assured in your decision making is very important if you want your team to have confidence in you as a leader. Decision making is a skill that needs to be developed just like any other. With time, the process becomes much easier and your skills and confidence will improve with each decision you make!