Good decision making skills are in my top 5 list of the most important leadership qualities.
If you ask a group of employees about what they look for in a good leader, you will get many answers. Most certainly, the ability to make good decisions, will rank up there.
Learning how to be a good decision maker is not easy. Managers, especially, have a very difficult time with this during the transition from management to leadership.
So, what does it take to be a good decision maker?
- Solid research
- A good evaluation of all the options
Solid research – Talk to everyone, seek out your advisors and make sure you have all the facts. Leave no rock or pebble unturned.
A good evaluation of all the options. Go through each decision and see what life looks like on the other side. Look at the pros and cons. Evaluate the risks and rewards.
Decisiveness – Harvey Schachter of the Globe and Mail wrote a good article on decision making in late 2017. In it, he suggests “if a decision is clear – one choice obviously outweighs the other – you should decide quickly and move on. And if the decision isn’t clear, because two or more options seem equally attractive, you probably will never know which is best, so again you should make the decision quickly and move on.”
Making decisions quickly and decisively is important. We do not want our leaders to waffle and be indecisive. This is not a good sign.
If a leader does the research required, properly evaluates the options and makes the decision decisively, it doesn’t matter if (s)he is right or wrong in the end. They have made the decision well. History will say that they did the the research, properly evaluated all the options and pulled the trigger at the right time. If all this is true, no one should take the fall if something goes wrong.
And finally Schacter’s adds: ”you can also make a bad decision because you fail to allow for the possibility of something wonderful happening. And wonderful things happen all the time… The decision you make may be less important than what you make of that decision – how you implement it. That’s helpful for us analysis-to-paralysis types.”