Top tips for making impactful decisions

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How do you keep control and oversight if authority is decentralised?


Read More Richard Scammell
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It's vital leaders are able to trust their employees, be honest and delegate power

Whether it’s for work in terms of management, leadership, running a business or running home life and personal admin, every single day decisions need to be made and it can be challenging to know you’re making the right call. Here I take a look at some of the key elements of positive decision-making.

Don’t get attached to past achievements

When leaders get attached to past successes it can inhibit their ability to think clearly and assess present challenges with an open mind. With the only constant in business being change, if a leader is not open to exploring new ideas it can spell the demise of the company.

Take time to reflect

With leaders making dozens of decisions every day there is a case for slowing down to speed up. Since many of these decisions are trivial there is always the danger that the consequences are not fully evaluated. However, over time many of these trivial decisions can magnify to have a great impact on the profit and people in your business. Time pressure encourages tunnel or distorted vision, while the best ideas often emerge after a reflective pause.

Empower and trust others

If leaders are going to enable better decision-making they need to give authority to those closest to the information and to those that have the ‘local knowledge’. Leaders need to empower team members to make real-time decisions and then take corrective action, knowing that their decision will be supported. The challenge with this is that many business structures do not empower team members to make decisions.

Empowerment and empathy go hand in hand

It’s harder to learn new things as an adult; the pain of making mistakes doesn’t roll off as quickly as it might have when we were younger. How can leaders foster an environment of psychological safety where employees are supported but still productively challenged? Leaders should dial up their levels of empathy and humility to focus more on enabling the best in their people, rather than commanding it from them.

Set the context behind the decision

To give employees the insights they need to make informed decisions it’s also important for leaders to help people understand what’s happening in the world – maybe not in 30 years’ time, but certainly in three years’ time.

Data shows clearly that people want some sort of insight about where they might be going in the company and what role they might play. Leaders need to be transparent and honest about those changes, engaging in an adult conversation about what might realistically happen in the future and how it could affect employees.

Kerry Jarred is founder and MD of Ignium

Comments

How do you keep control and oversight if authority is decentralised?


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Richard, for me, it's about principles rather than rules - ensuring everyone understands what they should be doing and trusting them to do it. Control is an illusion anyway and sets up the wrong behaviours. But oversight can often be provided in other ways, eg enabling people to report when things aren't happening.


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Useful tips – some especially resonant now as we adapt to new ways of working effectively together.


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A great article. You make a valid point about attachment to achievements; viewing the world through a lens of past success or failure can lead to a misleading conclusion of what to do now. Every situation is different and should be considered as such. And wise words about reflection too, we should resist the pressure for hasty decision making.


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