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Decision Making for Managers

Updated on October 10, 2011

As a manager, you are making decisions on a daily basis. You are expected to make timely, well-considered and beneficial decisions, which lead your organisation in a direction of success. Decision making is an essential skill for the leader, which can be polished by practising various tools and techniques.

  1. Look at the problem from all the possible angles. Step away and think what the problem looks like to you and how your decision will affect the company and its’ employees in a short run and in a long run. Assess the problem from every prospect. If you are completely stuck, consult the people above you.
  2. Be up to date with the latest news and updates within your company. Learn to assess the data to make evidence-based decisions. Be careful with making “the gut feeling decisions”, as there is no scientific and objective evidence to support them.
  3. Get out of the “comfort zone”. If you make decisions which you have always made, you will get exactly the same results as you did before. Best decisions are usually made from the “stretch zone”. You have to be a bit anxious, enthusiastic and determined to succeed.
  4. Share information with your employees. Explain the situation without stating your opinion on the matter. Encourage your team to express their honest opinions and suggestions. Gather all the information, work with it on your own and thank employees for their valuable contribution.
  5. Be open-minded. Discuss the issue with your employees, other managers, family and friends. But make sure the decision you make is your own and you are satisfied with it. Trust your experience and expertise.
  6. Advance your skills in assessing risks. How and when will you know you have made the right decision? If you have made a wrong decision, what will it cost the company? Before making a decision, you have to estimate the costs and efforts involved.
  7. Acknowledge past mistakes and move on. Even if your previous decision has not worked out as well as you wanted to, does not mean it will not work out in future. Assess your mistakes, correct your strategy and do it properly again.
  8. Be honest with yourself. Are you objective when you are gathering information? Is your mind already made up? Are you just looking for a confirmation of your decision? Even if it is the case, leave a room for doubt and stay open-minded.
  9. Think of an outcome. Will it bring you closer to your goal? Always set a goal before you make a decision. Decision making is just a process of choosing the best suitable action, which will get you to your destination. Weigh your decision against the goal.
  10. If the problem is outside your area of expertise, then you might consider hiring an expert to consultant. It will not make you a bad manager. In fact, it will make you a wise, responsible and experienced manager, who does not claim he knows it all. After all, your personal goal is to make the right decision.
  11. The decision is made. How will you implement it? What resources will you need? What is the timescale for taking actions? If the decision cannot be implemented, then it was a wrong one. In this case you have to examine the obstacles and act upon your decision.
  12. Have a second-best decision ready. Just in case someone within your organisation is against your decision, you save yourself the trouble to re-think the whole matter again.
  13. Always remember about Ethics & Values. Your decision should be fair on employees, the company and everyone involved in the outcome of your decision. Your decision should be congruent with the company’s values as well as your personal values.

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