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  • Writer's pictureDr. Vera Alves

Leadership & Decision-Making Part 1


Good decision-making is one of the leaders' most essential skills in everyday work. Some choices are easier, but many decisions leaders need to make take real thought and have serious consequences for the future of the organizations and their employees. A key element in this process is good judgment, "an interpretation of the evidence that points to the right choice."[1] Good judgment is all about making sound decisions on time. It has a unique and critical role that impacts all the dimensions of leadership, both in an organizational and personal setting.[1] In part one of this two-part series, we will discuss some myths about good decision-making.

Leadership, Judgment, and Decision-Making

Judgment and decision-making skills help leaders perform better in complex situations. Such skills allow them to identify critical factors that might affect the outcome of their decision in different ways. Leaders that are skilled decision-makers can better evaluate the options and alternatives when faced with challenging decisions. Their judgment abilities enable them to make sound choices when the path or the relevant data are not necessarily clear-cut.[1] Their analytical and interpretive skills facilitate anticipation of logical consequences. Overall, good judgment and decision-making skills allow leaders to face high-pressure and complex circumstances requiring high-level interpretation and quantitative analysis.


Some Myths about Decision-Making

A recent HBR article discusses some deeply ingrained and counterproductive decision-making myths that can harm our ability to choose the best alternatives for challenging issues.[2] Let's reflect on some of them.


● Decision-making is all about efficiency[2]

Leaders who jump in and make decisions can be frequently thought to be efficient. However, rushing through the process without laying an adequate foundation or considering the right factors can lead to unwanted and detrimental results.


● One is too busy to make a decision[2]

"Putting off a decision is a decision in and of itself."[2] Taking the time to solve a problem to ensure you entertain all the opinions, information, and factors involved will help increase the efficacy of the decision made and reduce the risk of having to reconsider the path taken.

● I don't need to involve others in my decision-making process[2]

Some leaders frequently fall into the overconfidence trap. Listening to stakeholders to understand the bigger picture and make an effective decision is crucial. Not doing so might either only partially solve the problem or even aggravate it. "Leaders with good judgment tend to be good listeners."[1]


● Gut-driven decision-making[2]

Leaders who make high-stakes decisions based on their instincts rely on bias and faulty memory. Good decisions require an open mind that allows for new information and insight.


● All necessary information is available[3]

Another myth is that leaders have all the information needed before making important decisions. In most cases, there is frequently an information gap. Greenleaf refers to the need for the leader "to have a sense for the unknowable and be able to foresee the unforeseeable."[3] Leaders need to understand the experiences, realize the present realities, analyze all available data, listen to stakeholders, and evaluate the consequences of a decision for the future, knowing that they will need to decide within a given margin of unknown circumstances.


Judgment is a process. Leaders need to develop the ability to take a strategic stop to see the whole picture and not just part of it.[2] In our next article, we will discuss some tips to develop good judgment. Stay tuned!


Leader Essentials Group can help your management team develop leadership skills that include decision-making and good judgment. Email us at info@leaderessentialsgroup.com to schedule a meeting and learn more about how we can partner with you to develop and execute strategic leadership outcomes for your organization!


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Vera Alves is the Chief Consulting Officer at Leader Essentials Group, with extensive experience in leadership development and business management. With over 12 years of experience as a C-suite executive, Vera is highly skilled in leadership, strategic planning, operations management, organizational behavior, and change management. She possesses highly developed communication, training, and linguistic skills reflective of a very strong and charismatic leadership style.

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[1] Likierman, A. (2020). The elements of good judgment. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from The Elements of Good Judgment (hbr.org) on 06-22-2022. [2] Einhorn, C. S. (2021). 11 Myths About Decision-Making. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from 11 Myths About Decision-Making (hbr.org) on 06-22-2022. [3] Greenleaf, R. K. (1977). Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness. New York: Paulist Press.

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