Are you a Decisive Leader?

A key dimension of leadership is making decisions. This sounds like stating the absolute obvious I know, but you may be surprised how many leaders struggle with this area of their leadership on a day to day basis. This of course can be at worst a ‘leadership de railer’, so my challenge to you today is, think about how effective you are around making decisions in your leadership role?

Before making decisions do you have a strong tendency to consult with others?

Are you sometimes paralysed in making a decision for fear of what the reaction will be?

Does your unconscious mindset drive you to make decisions quickly to demonstrate that you are a strong and decisive leader?

There are probably parts of all those characteristics in all of us at various times to a greater or lesser extent depending on the complexity of the decisions however the reality is, making decisions is a key part of all leadership roles. Even if you don’t always get it right or if some of your decisions are not always popular, you are accountable for outcomes!

I’d like to share some decision-making tactics that I have learnt along the way which may be useful for you to consider:

  • Think about who your ‘go to’ people are that you can trust to bounce ideas off and share your thinking with before you make significant decisions. Ideally, these will be peers or even a mentor, people who can productively challenge your thinking; 
  • Consultation is sometimes a requirement if your decisions are around organisational change but even on a day to day basis, consulting with influencers in your team can support the decision-making process and the team acceptance; 
  • Be open to feedback and challenge around your thinking and decision-making processes. Seeking in and out can build trust in a team and if your team feel heard, this can be an effective way to improve communication and engagement;
  • Think about the ‘why’ of the decision-making process. Getting this clear in your own mind is where you need to start. It also supports effective communication with people impacted by your decision-making process. If people understand the rationale, it can support their acceptance;
  • Accept that you won’t always get it right but don’t let this get in the way of your desire and need to make decisions. Be honest and open when things don’t go according to plan. Honesty and courage are key leadership behaviours;
  • Good decision-makers are also proficient thinkers. Keep thinking!
  • Stay focussed and don’t be distracted by negative reactions to your decisions. Try and pre-empt reactions and weave tactics in to manage that proactively. That might mean sharing a decision or idea with a team member whose natural reaction is to criticise. They may value an early heads up and provide feedback that is useful to consider before communicating your decision; 
  • Don’t allow certain circumstances to get in the way of you making decisions;
  • When you make a decision, stick to it unless it is fundamentally wrong. Changing your mind can cause great confusion especially amongst your team. Only change your decision if it is completely necessary;
  • Use affirmations to train your brain around the need to make decisions. For example “I am so happy and grateful that I am a decisive leader”. By repeating these affirmations each day, you will be surprised at how your thinking will change;
  • Remember to use your personally held values when making decisions. Stick to your moral compass!


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