Artwork by: Stas Podgornov
Aiming to be an inspiring leader? Solid decision-making is vital to advancing your career and progressing to leadership roles. Whatever your chosen career field, optimize this critical soft skill for greater leadership success.
Decisions, decisions! Making decisions is part of everyday life. What to wear today, whether to have cereal or toast for breakfast, and whether to take the train or drive to work. When it comes to your career, the impact of these decisions becomes extremely important, particularly if you want to be an inspiring leader in your chosen field.
Decision-making is a vital soft skill to hone if you want to move up the career ladder. The ability to problem solve, make good decisions, and learn from mistakes separates the leaders from the followers.
Being decisive is also important when leading and unifying a team. You will quickly gain respect from your employees if you are decisive, as this builds trust and strengthens company culture.
So, how can you strengthen your decision-making skills, become an inspiring leader, and see your career flourish? In this article we explore:
Why build decision-making skills?
Six examples of decision-making skills
How to improve your decision-making skills
“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”
Theodore Roosevelt, U.S. President
Decision-making skills are essential for success in any career, as they help you choose the best solutions for different challenges. The decision-making process involves assessing all the facts presented, understanding current and future goals, then choosing the best course of action.
You may be a project coordinator who encounters a bottleneck or issue that could lead to major delays or increased costs. If you work in human resources, you might need to decide which candidates to interview or hire. Whatever the situation, making the right decisions will enable you to excel in the workplace and potentially progress to roles of increasing responsibility.
If you are looking to grow your career by improving your decision-making, a good place to start is by identifying the skills needed to master this important trait.
According to a SHRM article, there is a 95% correlation between companies that excel at effective decision-making and those with strong financial performance. (Research completed by Bain & Co., a global management consultancy in Boston)
There are a multitude of skills that blend together to make a great decision-maker. Here are six main examples of skills required in decision-making.
Having great analytical skills means that you are able to determine the best solution for a problem or tricky situation. Applying an analytical approach allows you to look at the bigger picture, review the facts, identify any common threads or patterns, then make a logical decision.
Making decisions is a key part of leadership, so if you want to progress in your career these skills will go hand-in-hand. Collaboration in decision-making is key, but taking the lead and sharing your experiences is equally important. Leadership skills are all about fielding different perspectives and not being afraid to take charge.
Creative thinking is a key component of decision-making. While the facts and figures are all important, even a sprinkle of creative thinking can help provide solutions to complex problems. Promote regular brainstorming sessions as a major way of boosting team creativity and problem-solving skills.
Time is precious, especially in decision-making. Showcasing your ability to prioritize challenges, deliver to deadlines, and ensure high quality standards will be evidence of your amazing time management skills. In leadership roles, being organized and holding strong prioritization skills are key indicators of success.
Being emotionally intelligent means that you are self-aware in terms of your emotions and are able to express these emotions in a healthy and informative way. In terms of decision-making this means being aware of what you are feeling when weighing up a decision. You will also be able to think about what others are feeling based on the decisions you make. Essentially, you can measure whether your emotions are helping or hindering your decision.
Collaboration in decision-making can be equally as important as leadership. Sometimes you will need input from others in order to finalize a decision. Ultimately, your ability to consider other viewpoints and collaborate across the decision-making process will determine the results and quality of your decision.
Here are some options to help boost your decision making capabilities and get on the leadership track!
An issue may present itself to you or another person may make you aware of a problem. If this happens in the workplace, then it should be reported to a senior member of staff if serious and a meeting scheduled with involved parties to discuss further.
Identify potential solutions to the problem and communicate these to involved parties via a meeting. Make sure you document everything and share this information with all parties via email so they have a proper record. Then list proposed action points, allocate these to individuals, and don’t forget to follow up.
Assess the advantages and disadvantages fully and select the best options to move forward to the final decision-making stage. Think about your end goal and how each option offers the potential to achieve this objective.
Choose your final decision and actively monitor the impact of your decision both in the short- and long-term. You may make a good decision or a bad decision. Either way, that can be a good thing in that you made a great decision or learned from a bad decision as you moved forward.
When you follow this step-by-step guide and take the decision-making process slowly, you will soon become accustomed to the process of making effective decisions. Practice makes perfect, so as your career advances you will be taking steps toward becoming an amazing decision-maker and an inspirational leader!
Confront difficult and stressful decisions first. Don’t procrastinate. A lot of people tend to avoid making decisions that are stressful or cause anxiety. This just prolongs the stress, and it’s better to tackle these tricky issues first and eliminate them.
Having strong decision-making skills will help you in all aspects of life, but particularly in terms of your career advancement and progression to leadership roles.
Enhancing decision-making skills involves focusing on core skill areas including analytical, leadership, creativity, emotional intelligence, and collaboration skills.
Making informed and rational decisions requires the ability to focus on the facts, identify short- and long-term goals, then create solutions and appropriate actions.
Helen is an experienced freelance writer with a strong background in job search and career advice, in particular resume best practices, interviewing, and personal and professional development. Before Career.io, Helen worked for high-profile recruitment firms and in the field of HR management, so she has a strong sense of what recruiters are looking for in a potential employee as well as experience in supporting career growth and development.