How Should Managers Make Decisions?

Decision making is never easy to do
Decision making is never easy to do
Image Credit: Impact Hub

One of the reasons that your company is willing to employ you is because they believe that you can make decisions for them. Not only do they think that you can make decisions, but they are also hoping that you can make good decisions. Understanding this can start to put a lot of pressure on a manager. We all want to be good decision makers; however, nobody ever showed us how to go about doing this. What’s the secret to not only making decisions, but making good decisions?

What’s The Right Way To Make Decisions?

So what’s wrong with the way that managers make decisions? All too often creativity ends up being at odds with the critical role of open-mindedness in our decision-making. When managers are called on to make decisions it ends up being the opposite of what you could call “open” or “considered.” How do we currently measure successful decision making? Many managers enjoy speed as the measuring stick for growth, not thoughtful deliberation. Their goal is to move fast and break things. We are all familiar with the phrase, “Ask for forgiveness, not permission.”

How To Make Better Decisions

The problem with this way of making decisions is that it results in broken things – that can include collateral damage. Having done this will then require either additional attention of the decision-maker, tasked with cleaning up a mess, or those in the trenches who halt progress on key projects because they have to tidy up. What managers need here is a fix that maintains consistent productivity while somehow spurring innovation. Instead of speed as the measure for progress and growth, managers should turn to five important questions to gauge the effectiveness of their decision-making process:

  • Do my decisions consider all members of the company’s community, including customers, managers, and both long time and entry-level employees?
  • Are my decisions made after considering the long-term implications for the company and my team. Does my decision not just consider short-term gains?
  • Do my decisions lean too heavily on the easy answers and fail to provide truly effective solutions that will actually solve the problem at hand?
  • Have I taken the opportunity to consider any “outside the box” options that may differentiate my team from others and encourage innovative thinking?
  • Have I, where appropriate, solicited ideas and feedback from others on my team to ensure my decisions take all perspectives into account?

These questions can be asked as part of a personal review during the decision-making process or they can be conducted quarterly or semi-annually. You could also ask them before/after major decisions. You may find it helpful to do both. What managers need to realize is that the underlining principle here is that no manager operates in a vacuum. A company is built collectively, even if decisions are ultimately made by its managers. The best managers consider decision carefully, with creative open-mindedness as their guiding light. Remember that speed only leads to unnecessary accidents.

What All Of This Means For You

One of the most important things that any manager does for their company is to make decisions. Making decisions is not an easy thing to do. We all hope that we make good decisions, but there is risk to every decision that we make. What every manager would like to do is to learn how we can become better decision makers.

Often managers forget that creativity is a key part of any decision-making process. However, all too often they start to favor speed over making good decisions. When this happens, bad decisions can be made and many people can be affected. Instead, we need to consider who our decisions are going to affect. We have to be aware of how long the impact of our decision will be. We also have to understand what we brought into the decision-making process: did we use out of the box thinking and did we include members of our team?

Ultimately, our goal has to be to learn how to make better decisions. The good news is that how to go about doing this is actually pretty straight forward. However, in order to start making good decisions we are going have to unlearn our old ways of making decisions and learn some new one. If we make the effort, we can make better decisions and everyone will benefit.

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

Question For You: How do you think that managers can tell if they are making good decisions?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

One of the more challenging tasks that a manager has to do is to provide the members of your team with feedback. We need to keep in mind that feedback can take on many different forms. If someone does something that is very good or produces a good result, we want to let them know to do more of that. However, if someone does something that produces a bad result, we need to take them aside and talk about what they did wrong. Just exactly what is the best way to give feedback to team members?