Being a decision-maker is an important part of leadership, but decisiveness is not always a natural trait. People often avoid making decisions in order to avoid making mistakes.
Whether your decision is large or small, failure to act is failure to progress. Most issues don’t improve when you ignore them.
Think of it this way, when you put off making a decision, you’re effectively making the decision to:
- Not take action.
- Not grow.
- Not risk.
- Not move forward.
Prolonged decision-making wastes time and is confusing and frustrating to the people you lead.
This may also cause unnecessary worry among your staff. If you are not clear and confident when you do make a decision, they may be hesitant to support you.
When you appear confident and decisive, your team will feel more secure about the changes and improvements that you’re expecting of them.
Tips for decisiveness
Here are some strategies to help you become a confident decision-maker:
1. Review your company’s mission statement and values. Is the issue out of alignment with these values? If so, then your choice is an easy one.
2. Ask smart questions, the kind that will reveal potential problems. For example, if you’re making a decision to purchase new equipment, instead of asking the salesperson, “How is this working for other companies?” Ask, “What problems have other buyers had with this type of equipment?”
3. Delegate the information gathering. Have a meeting to discuss all of the information, and then ask your team for their input before making a decision.
4. Rely on logic, not emotion. Don’t allow fear of what others think or what may go wrong keep you from moving forward.
5. Trust yourself to make the right choice. Remember, you can always adjust course and make changes if necessary.
6. Set a deadline. Make the decision to make a decision.
7. Once the decision is made, break down the next action steps and determine how and who will monitor progress.
Smart leaders don’t put off making decisions. If you’re the type of person who avoids decision-making, it will take some courage to change, but this becomes easier with practice.
Decisiveness is not only an admirable trait; it’s an important leadership skill that improves the confidence and trust of your entire team.
Beth Caldwell is the founder and executive director of Pittsburgh Professional Women. Beth is the author of the book “Smart Leadership” and the founder of Leadership Academy for Women.