Why do so many seemingly capable managers struggle with making decisions? Are they afraid of making the wrong decision or potentially an unpopular decision? Do they worry what will happen if they're wrong, will they lose the respect of those their charge, their peers or their boss? Sometimes they don't want to rock the boat (they are happy sitting in the status quo) or come they don't want to come across as unfair to particular people on their team. Is this you? Is this a gap in your Leadership Skills? It's unfortunate, because managers are expected to make decisions, and dare I say, take calculated risks. If they don't, they tend to get exactly what they are afraid of (losing the respect of those around them). Even worse, they miss out on opportunities and the successes that come out of those opportunities. If you gather as much detail as you can at the time - meaning looking at both the benefits and the consequences- from your team and experts, then make a decision based on that information, your experience and what you see around you...you are in an excellent position to make an effective decision- so make it already! Even if your decision winds up being wrong, there's always an opportunity for a lesson learned that might bring you to an even bigger success. It all depends on how you handle yourself. What can you do to become a better decision-maker:
Set a time frame. The biggest issue with making a decision is indecision or what I call dilly-dallying. Set a time frame and stick to it.
Gather the detail. Listen to your team, speak to professionals, trust your experiences, take a good look at the consequences of making the decision, and not making the decision (or choosing between two options). Lean on peers and your boss if needed, but gather the detail.
Be confident. This is your job, so own up to it and take charge. If you have followed step two, then you have all the information you need to make the best decision you can. Also, be confident that if it doesn't work out that you will manage it quickly and effectively to minimize loss or disruption.
What to do if you make the wrong decision:
Learn quickly. That means you stay on top of the process, the implementation of the results of the decision. Depending on the decision, this could be days or months. But if you are following the results closely, then you have the ability to course-correct before a mistake turns into losses and a dip in employee morale.
Admit your mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes or maybe it's not a mistake, maybe it just didn't work out. The real game-changer is what you do once you know your decision is causing you to head in the wrong direction. If you are paying attention and learning quickly, then you are gathering detail that will allow you to either stop the train or pivot. If you have to report into management, be confident in saying that you made the best decision you could at the time, these are the issues, this is how I'm going to correct it. It shows you are proactive and you have it under control (and not hiding hoping it all goes away.)
Pivot. If you have completed items one and two, then make a move to correct the situation. It's really just another decision, isn't it? However, it's one that has everyone's best interests in mind. This is key because most managers would be stuck in fear and would let this problem fester and become a major issue rather than admitting they made a mistake and correcting it. Make the move, correct the problem. OWN IT and own the successes that come out of course correcting.
Seriously, make a decision already. Make the leap from manager to Leader!! Have a wonderful week. -Renata