How Managers Can Make Better Decisions

How a manager makes decisions can impact the entire team
How a manager makes decisions can impact the entire team
Image Credit: Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

If we were to list out all of the important manager skills that a manager needs to have, what would be on that list? Even more importantly, what would be at the top of that list? It turns out that what should be at the top of the list is the ability to make decisions well. Research has shown that how we go about making decisions is just as important as what decisions we make. If we want to make decisions the right way and we don’t have any manager training on how to do this, how can we go about doing this?

Stop Pretending That You Care

Nobody likes a manager who makes decisions in a vacuum. When we make a decision we need to realize that we probably don’t have all of the information that we need and so we need to consult with the key stake holders. When we do this we generally make better decisions and the final result will be that members of our team will be motivated to implement our decision.

However, all too often managers just pretend to get input from others. The reason that managers do this is to fool members of their team into thinking that they played a role in the decision. The problem with making decisions this way is that it will end up demotivating and discouraging your team. Pretending that team members input to a decision matters when it really doesn’t disrespects them and alienates those people that the manager is going to need to implement the decision. Include your team when you make a decision and turn it into a team building event.

Slow Things Down

Most managers believe that in order to do their jobs well they need to be able to make decisions quickly. However, when it comes to making a decision about something that is either tricky or technical, making a quick decision could create a situation that may not be able to be reversed if the decision is wrong.

Team members can tell when a decision should take longer. If a manager quickly fires off a snap decision without taking the time that should be required to make this kind of decision, then the team members will be less motivated to implement the decision. They will see the decision as being a rash ignorant decision instead of a smart confident one.

Make Final Decisions Really Final

When a manager makes a decision, that really should be it. However, that’s not always the case. In some cases managers who are not confident in their decision making abilities will revisit decisions that they have made too quickly and too often. The problem is that their team has already started to implement the decision.

The manager’s insecurity is going to spill over and will quickly infect their team. The result of this is that the insecurity is going to undermine the team’s faith in the manager’s decision and will temper their enthusiasm for implementing the decision. As a manager we need to learn how to strike a balance between self-confidence and doubt.

Don’t Put Off Taking Action

Managers need to understand the scope of their responsibilities. All too often managers believe that once they have gone to the effort of making a decision, their job is done. What we have to realize is that a decision by itself really changes nothing. Making a decision is only the beginning.

Good managers realize that a decision is important but is only part of a complete solution. They realize that it is their responsibility to assign work, track accomplishments, and reward team members for a job well done. They are the ones who have to turn their decision into action.

What All Of This Means For You

As managers one of the most important things that we do is to make decisions. Our teams are counting on us to be good at making decisions and to include them in the decision making process. We need to learn just exactly how to go about making decisions that will allow our teams to be successful.

The first thing that a manager needs to learn about decision making is that we have to include all of the key stake holders in the decision making process. If we just pretend to listen to people and then go about making our own decisions, then our team will detect this and will not be motivated to implement our decisions. There are some decisions that deal with complex or difficult topics. As managers we need to slow things down and take our time when making these decisions. If we rush and make snap decisions our team will detect this and won’t have any confidence in our decisions. When we make a final decision, we need to be able to stick with that. Doubting our own decisions can be harmful to our team who has already started to implement the decision. Managers have responsibilities that extend beyond the decision making process. We need to understand that we are also responsible for making sure that our decisions get implemented.

Making good decisions is a hallmark of a good manager. In order to make sure that we make good decisions, we need to get comfortable in working with others and taking the time required to fully understand what we have to decide. If we can learn to make decisions that our team can live with, then they will be happy to implement them and we’ll be seen as an effective manager.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: What’s the best way to let your team know that you’ve included their input into your decisions?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Managers realize that it’s always been hard to use their manager skills to attract and retain the top quality talent that they need. It seems as though it has become even harder to do this lately. What seems to be a key way that managers can make this happen is if they use their manager training to understand what workers, especially millennials, are really looking for: company culture.