Written by Anna Bernstein on 10 Jul 2014
Any manager or leader will tell you, one of the most difficult parts of their role is making tough
decisions; decisions that often have a profound impact upon your business. Being a good manager requires the ability to identify and define the problem, weigh up information, visualise options, foresee consequences/repercussions and ultimately make these sorts of decisions. These are all part of being a good manager or strong leader.
However, there is a process that you can follow in order to break down these decisions and allow you to approach them more strategically. This post looks at this process of making tough decisions and will help you build confidence in improving your own decision making ability.
Understand the Problem
Tough decisions arise when there is a problem to overcome and the decision itself carries risk, consequence or repercussions. It is, therefore, important to first address the problem and understand why it has occurred in the first place. Without first knowing why a problem has presented itself, you will never be in the position to make an informed decision that will resolve the issue.
As with any problem solving situation, it is vital that you gather all available information you can in order to make an informed decision. Utilise whatever data, research and information you have regarding the problem and the desired solution or outcome. Speak to your peers and team members and gain insight to their thoughts and opinions. Survey opinions; this will help you to visualise the problem from other angles and will improve your teams respect for you as a leader by showing your transparency and the fact that you value their opinions.
Weigh Your Options
Never make tough decisions without first exploring all avenues. What seems like the obvious decision at first may, at second glance, turn out to be the wrong decision. Use the information and opinions you gathered to map out and visualise how each option will evolve; listing pros and cons to help build a case for each.
Finally, take some time away to let your findings breathe and allow your mind to clear; focus on other activities and try not to think about the decision at hand. When you come back to the problem you will be in a clearer frame of mind and a better position to once again assess your options, evaluate the outcomes and reach a final decision.
Make the Decision
Making tough decisions never gets any easier but as you practise this approach, you will become more comfortable tackling them. With every new decision making process you will gain more experience and learn to make the right decisions more often.