From the minute we wake up every morning to when our head hits the pillow each night, we are constantly faced with decisions. They may be as simple as deciding what to eat or which route to drive to work to avoid traffic, or they might be major life decisions such as switching careers or buying a new home.
What if the daily decisions you make affect an entire group of people?
As a leader, every decision you make will affect every employee in your organization and, in some instances, their families as well.
This level of decision-making power would cause many people to freeze with fear and indecisiveness. But leaders don’t have the luxury of extra time to overthink every outcome in order to make a choice. Oftentimes, your decisions need to be instantaneous and made with limited information.
Extreme Leaders recognize that it is critical to engage in an effective decision-making process to successfully manage all the choices you face. You start by working with an expert leadership speaker like Steve Farber to help build effective decision-making skills. A leadership speaker guides you through the challenges of decision-making in leadership.
The Importance of Decision-Making in Leadership
How do leaders manage the pressure of knowing every business decision may have a profound impact on their employees and organization? What steps need to be taken to ensure those decisions are thoughtful, viable, and help achieve the organization’s mission? Even when you don’t have the full picture or time to consider all your options?
Extreme Leaders recognize they need to make decisions quickly, and they won’t always be perfect. Successful leaders make the best choice they can with the information available — more importantly, they move forward without second-guessing themselves once they’ve made their decision. They consider all the data, listen to their gut, and trust their own instincts.
Extreme Leaders follow this decision-making process with the best interests of their employees and business at heart. They recognize that any decision comes with risks and trade-offs, and they are willing to accept this in order to achieve their goals.
Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach to decision-making in leadership, there are a few key steps that all leaders should consider when facing a tough choice.
7 Steps to an Effective Decision-Making Process for Extreme Leaders
Good leaders understand that they have to make decisions quickly comes with the territory. They do not shy away from the weight of this responsibility — they embrace the power it offers.
The most successful leaders continuously seek new ways to develop their leadership skills, and when faced with crucial choices, they follow the 7 steps to effective decision-making outlined below.
1. Identify the Problem
Before you can find a solution, you must understand the problem. The decisions you make as a manager will have a direct impact on your team and the organization, so it is imperative that you identify the problem with a clear mind and make thoughtful decisions based on information, rather than emotion.
In order to make the best possible decision, it is important to answer the following questions:
- What is the problem that needs to be solved?
- What goal will you achieve with your decision?
- How will you measure success?
- How will your decision impact your team and customers?
Once you have identified these answers, you can envision the path that leads toward the best possible solution. By engaging in a problem-solving process, you will ensure that your decision was made with the greater good of your organization in mind.
Over time, this will evolve into effective decision-making skills that you can tap into like second nature when faced with crucial choices.
2. Look Objectively at Data and Information
An effective decision-making process begins with rational thought and a clear vision. It is important to leave emotions out of decisions that affect your employees and your business.
Leaders and decision-making go hand-in-hand, so learning how to master your emotions is an important first step in an effective decision-making process. If you let emotions influence business decisions, you may regret the outcome as it often moves you further away from the goal you are trying to achieve.
A great way to separate emotions from the equation is to focus on information instead.
By asking your team for relevant data or inquiring if anybody has attempted to solve the problem previously, you will be armed with the facts needed to make a clear, rational decision.
3. Weigh the Pros and Cons
As a leader, you may be constantly undergoing decision-making that will impact your entire organization. In these situations, it is critical to weigh the pros and cons carefully. High-level decision-making in leadership begins with a SWOT analysis. By considering potential strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, you can see the big picture and gain a clear understanding of all possible outcomes.
The most successful leaders deploy the SWOT technique in decision-making to ensure they make informed choices that are in the best interest of the organization and its employees.
4. Find Other Alternatives
When you put a location into GPS, it typically offers a few routes to reach your destination. Whether your goal is to save time by taking the most direct route or saving money with a toll-free option, having alternatives to consider is helpful. Making decisions as a manager is the same.
When faced with problem-solving, Extreme Leaders consider all factors and play out all possible scenarios before selecting the alternative that offers the best solution. If your first option isn’t the best, consider the situation from all angles and obtain input from others who can provide helpful insight in order to find the best alternative.
Although there are no perfect decisions, thinking through each solution to see how it will ultimately affect your team and your organization is the most effective decision-making technique. Review all the information available and trust your instincts when it comes to choosing the best alternative routes for your team.
5. Set Boundaries and Create Strategies
Leaders are required to make countless decisions. While some are easy, others are incredibly difficult, but they are all important. Part of your challenge is setting boundaries around the decisions you make, as you can’t please everybody all the time. Decision-making in leadership requires you to learn when to say “no”.
Extreme Leaders establish boundaries for the good of the organization.
While your team may not always like these boundaries, it’s important for them to understand why you have set them. First, you must be clear about your goals and priorities. Once you recognize what is most important to you and the goals you’re hoping to achieve, you can articulate the same to your team. This will also help you say “no” to anything that doesn’t align with your goals.
Additionally, it’s imperative to be confident in your decision-making ability. Especially for new leaders, it is natural for feelings of self-doubt to creep in, but it’s your responsibility to stop them before they run rampant. After all, if you are not sure of yourself, how can your team be?
Lastly, don’t be afraid to delegate. At times, it can feel lonely at the top if you’re attempting to do everything by yourself. By delegating tasks and responsibilities to your team, you are trusting them to help with the decision-making process.
6. Put an Effective Decision-Making Process into Practice
One main component of developing leadership skills is learning how to be an effective communicator. Once you have made a decision and crafted a plan, it’s time to tap into those communication skills to share the plan with those who will be implementing it. You need to be clear and concise when providing that information. Include details about what is expected from them and explain why it is important.
Once you share the plan, show your team you have their back by providing ongoing support as they put it into action. This may include offering feedback, providing resources, and giving encouragement.
One of the hardest parts of decision-making in leadership is putting these strategies into practice, but the more often you do it, the easier it will be.
7. Review the Results of Your Decision
You can’t know if a plan was successful if you don’t review the results and assess their impact. In doing so, you can identify areas of improvement and adjust your decision-making process as needed to keep it on track.
Extreme Leaders always keep the big picture in mind to ensure their decisions continue to be in alignment with their goals and values.
A Leadership Keynote Speaker Can Help Transform You Into an Extreme Leader
Decision-making as a leader can be challenging, but with the support of a leadership keynote speaker and the 7 steps to effective decision-making detailed above, you will have everything you need to make thoughtful and strategic decisions that are in the best interests of your team, and organization.
Be extreme in your leadership, not in your decisions, to reach the pinnacle of success.