Making Tough Decisions: 4 Tips You Need to ConsiderBy Gilda D'Incerti | Tue, 06/07/2022 - 13:00
Consider these four tips to increase your ability to make a decision and stick to it, which is the cornerstone of good leadership. McKinsey research shows that executives on average spend almost 30 percent of their time making decisions. This means that they must be efficient and effective in order to make the most of their time while managing the business.
During my career, I have faced several challenges that have allowed me to take into consideration these four things when making decisions:
1. Evaluate the benefits your decision will bring to the business
Surely, in your business you already have some objectives that you want to reach in the short, medium and long terms. To accomplish them, it is important to make good decisions, so I recommend you make a list that includes the benefits, risks, advantages, disadvantages, and criteria that you must take into consideration when making the decision.
The pandemic has worn people out, leaving many feeling tired and overwhelmed in the grips of decision fatigue, so I suggest you make these evaluations in a quiet environment. Evaluate the company, its values and objectives; once you have completed this, you will get your answer. Trust in yourself and don't go back.
2. Listen to your people
In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey’s sixth habit is to, “Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.” He mentions the importance of listening with intent to understand: “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. If we tune out while we formulate our own response, we will never fully ‘be’ with the person sitting in front of us and we will have little chance of fully understanding them and helping them feel heard and valued. We will not have the information we need to effectively lead those in our teams and help them maximize their potential.”
The human factor plays an important role in decision-making. Listen to others, listen with an open heart and mind to the different opinions and perspectives of the people you trust most on your team. Not only will this guide you to make the best decision but it will also help you see the situation from different angles.
For example, a few years ago I had an idea but I didn't know if it was going to be beneficial to my employees, so I decided to take a survey to find out their opinions. The results of the survey provided me the information I needed. I knew what I had to do and I also discovered new things that I had not thought of. So much is about perspective.
Also, have empathy when listening to another person's point of view and actively engage with them during the discussion. By doing so, we can find common ground and build solutions that are mutually beneficial. When it comes to leadership, listening is very important. The need to feel respected is No. 1 on the list of the 10 elements of culture that matter most to employees, which means that in addition to treating them with consideration and courtesy, their points of view must be taken into account. As Dr. Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”
3. Talk to yourself like you would to a friend
I’m sure that businesspeople or entrepreneurs have asked for your opinion before doing something. When faced with a tough choice, ask yourself, “What would I say to a friend or colleague who had this problem?” Surely, it will be easier for you to make a decision. That happens when you offer wisdom to another person; you are more objective and less negative.
Developing kinder self-talk takes practice but when you make self-compassion a daily habit, your decision-making skills will improve. A good leader needs to be able to make hard decisions and stand by them. We must ensure that the choices made are the best ones for our company and that they enable the organization to move in the right direction. Effective decisions save time and propel work projects forward, increasing employee productivity.
4. It’s part of the job
When you are a leader, making difficult decisions is part of the job. What I’ve noticed throughout my career is that the best leaders tend to “own” their decisions. That is, they stand behind them and let people know that they are the one who made the call, and they will take the heat from those who may not like it. Taking ownership of a decision means sticking with it once it’s made.
These four tips have allowed me to lead with kindness by taking everyone’s viewpoint into account, digest what they have put forward, balance emotion with reason, and then behave like a true leader and make the final decision. The result is increased trust and loyalty from my team.