Leadership & Decision-Making Part 2
Decision-making is at the heart of managerial roles. From low-risk tactical dilemmas to high-risk strategic calls, managers must use their abilities to make good decisions almost on "a minute" basis. Setting priorities, resolving crises, allocating resources, hiring and firing, deciding on investments, and managing employees and relationships, leaders are called to interpret evidence and exercise good judgment to make the right choices.
But how can you enhance your decision-making skills? In the final installment of this two-part series, we will discuss some good practices suggested in a recent HBR article and consider specific skills that contribute to developing good judgment.
● Listen actively and critically analyze
Give your undivided attention to the information, insights, and solutions presented to you. Absorb as much information as possible and try not to miss critical details related to the problem. Be a good listener and keep an eye on what is not said. Remember that a lot of information is non-verbal, conveyed, for example, through body language. Finally, consider where the underlying data comes from and the possible interests of those involved in the suggested decisions. Critically analyze to look for gaps and discrepancies in the information.
● Look for diversity of opinions, not validation
Surround yourself with people who tell you what you need to know, not what you want to hear. Seeking validation or echo is a common trap many managers fall into. Diversity of opinions and points of view will challenge your beliefs and expand your take on the different issues you need to decide on.
● Don't make judgments out of overconfidence
Habits, complacency, and overconfidence often fog people's decision-making skills. Leaders should look forward to expanding their experience while critically assessing the validity of their own existing knowledge and understanding of the issue.
● Address and detach your biases
Falling into biases traps is very common. For example, we all have preconceived ideas about specific topics. We can easily fall into a confirmation bias when seeking information to confirm a pre-existing opinion, belief, or theory. Another example is letting your risk-aversion or the opposite, your excessive appetite for risk, bias your decision. Be aware of your biases, practice detachment while making high-level decisions, and do not let your existing points of view and experiences skew your analysis.
● Keep the feasibility of execution in check
Think carefully about how proposed projects will be implemented. Consider the risks involved, seek clarification from the project's advocates, and assess the experience of the people involved in its execution. You must ensure that the planning and execution teams are up to the challenge. Always critically analyze a proposal since you want to confirm that the collective experience of people involved in project planning, approval, and implementation matches the context and depth of the proposed investment.
Consistently making good decisions is one of the most important habits we should all aim at developing, both in personal and professional settings. Good judgment is a process; the more focused, emotionally stable, detached from our own biases and preconceived ideas, and open to different points of view, the stronger the chances of choosing the best course of action to promote personal and organizational growth.
Leader Essentials Group can help your management team develop leadership skills that include decision-making and good judgment. Email us at email@example.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.
_________________________________________________________________________  Caruccy, R. (2020). How Systems Support (or Undermine) Good Decision-Making. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from How Systems Support (or Undermine) Good Decision-Making (hbr.org) on 06/29/2022.  Likierman, A. (2020). The elements of good judgment. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from The Elements of Good Judgment (hbr.org) on 06-22-2022.  Erwin, M. (2019). 6 Reasons we make bad decisions, and what to do about them. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from 6 Reasons We Make Bad Decisions, and What to Do About Them (hbr.org) on 06/29/2022.