When you are one of the leading pillars of an organization, you will often be in the position where time is of the essence and making quick and accurate decisions is an important leadership competency to have.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither did it take a century to get built. The basic competencies required for leadership are a fixed mission, vision and goal and once you get your focus on these important factors, decision making with limited time and information in hand is a cake walk.
It should be noted that making mistakes is a part and parcel of decision making, especially if based on ambiguous and incomplete information. Most successful leaders often make mistakes in the process of making quick decisions but the true measure of one’s leadership competency is being vigilant to identify the error at the right time and initiate quick recovery.
The following are some barriers to quick decision-making ability and some tips to overcome them.
Measure of one’s leadership competency
The compulsive need to get everything to the tip right, although is a copacetic quality in an individual, it is not an admirable attribute when it comes to leadership competencies. Perfectionists require all the information in hand before even starting the process of making a decision, just so they don’t get anything wrong. This is quite a problem in stressful and urgent situations. Making a decision with a limited amount of information and taking the risk of following your gut instinct is essential as a competent leader. If you are a perfectionist and you want to be a leader some day, practice to become slightly less compulsive with smaller tasks in your daily routine. Being a little less uptight, will help you focus better on the more important factors in your work and personal life and also, it could benefit the level of your efficiency.
Back in school, we were given assignments and deadlines to hand it over and procrastination has been frowned upon since then. Efficiency and time management are the two core leadership competencies. As part of leadership competencies, saying “I’ll do it tomorrow” is an absolute ‘no-no’. You will tend to make a mess, miss out on important information and also, give the higher management a bad impression of your effectiveness at your job. Break down the task into smaller tasks and give yourself shorter deadlines for them. Make sure you complete the smaller tasks on a regular basis until you have completed the whole task, that way you not only overcome the rush of last minute achievements but you are also, completing the task assigned to you efficiently, effectively and meticulously.
If you are a commanding speaker, effective worker, creative thinker and you are composed of almost all the attributes on the leadership competency list that you need for your job as a leader, it is a considerable push down if you are disorganized. Disorganized people often find it hard to find important documents, forget important meetings and lose track of significant work. If you are a leading professional in your organization, you are expected to stay efficient and on your toes. Keep a log of important dates for meetings, deadlines and decision requests. Keep your work space clutter free and have designated areas for important logs and documents which will make it easier to be found. This will help you create a disciplined work environment and help you deliver the meticulous work expected of you. There is no waste of time in finding for files and documents, and decisions will be made quickly.
Playing it safe
If you are the kind of person who needs all the information to make a decision and you always tend to take the safest routes, then you are lacking essential competencies of leadership. No great innovation or business was built by taking safe routes. The greatest risks ever taken came out to be the best business decisions. However, a risky decision can always go either ways. Make sure you prepare yourself to fail but think of failure as an opportunity to learn. Master the key leadership competency skill of making decisions within limited time frame and with inadequate information you have in hand. Create a number of possibilities of things that could go wrong and keep quick recovery plans to execute on standby; that way you don’t have to execute the whole process again and you have minimum damages to recover from.
Holding off on the Publication
Some people perfect all leadership competencies required to carry out their job. They might be decisive to the point of perfection; however, they might disclose their decision publically at the brink of the deadline. It is probably because of the fright of a backlash from their higher ups, co-workers or direct reports and they want to mentally and emotionally prepare themselves for it. When decisions are disclosed, you can be sure to receive heat, opinions and suggestions but because of the lack of timeliness, there is no room for reconsideration. This could jeopardize the whole decision. If you can relate to this, then make sure you understand the repercussions of the delay. Try to declare your decision well before hand, that way you have enough time to go back for reconsiderations, changes and feedback that are essential for the success of your decision.
Fear of making decisions
If you are the kind of person who holds off on making a decision on the whole because you fear the reactions that may come your way because of the selection, then you lack vital attributes of leadership competencies and self-confidence. Making decisions is an important responsibility in organizations. Research the problem, talk to people and take contradicting opinions from them and then calibrate the problem at large. Make a decision keeping all opinions and reasons in your mind and stick to it. Have an account of all the reasons behind your decision and have defensive statements for oppositions to your decision. However, don’t be too rigid. Be open to reconsideration in the face of real data that prove your decision to be wrong. Remember, more the criticism, the more assurance of your decision! So, take the criticism with a pinch of salt and analyze it to figure them to be true or not.
Making quick decisions could be scary, especially when it comes to big business transactions. A three step progress of “Know-Think-Do” will come a long way in your career when it comes to making decisions. Decision making has, is and will never be something you can be perfectly sure about; but it is about making decisions and being able to cope with the unforeseeable future. The above factors could help you in the process of becoming a better decision maker, however, it still comes down to how well you are able to implement them.