3 Ways For Leaders To Make Great Decisions (plus free download)

Is your team culture as lacklustre as share market trading during the GFC?

Do you feel like  Mr or Mrs ‘Jolly Hockey Sticks’, trying (somewhat unsuccessfully) to engender passion, enthusiasm and teamwork from your troops?

If this is the case, chances are you are overusing the “I decide” decision-making approach.

Wanna revive it like a Baywatch lifeguard?

Then get your head around this simple model…

There’s no ‘one right way’ for decision-making in organisational life, but different situations suit different approaches.

This seems like a simple concept in theory, but unfortunately, most managers are overusing the “I decide” muscle.

As a leader, it’s your job to decide which decision-making approach to use, given the unique set of circumstances.

Ask yourself, “Is this a scenario where we can decide together, is it one which my team can take complete control on, or is it one where I need to take the reins?”

Sure, there are times when “I decide” is the best way – in a crisis for example, or when time is of the essence. In these situations, a collaborative approach usually ‘aint the best way to go. A pilot asking his co-pilot “what should we do?” when the plane is in an emergency landing situation isn’t clever by anyone’s standards.

Looking for a solution on a problematic project? Need innovative problem solving? Determining learning and development needs? Exploring new ways to achieve your strategy? These situations are screaming out for a collaborative, “we decide” approach.

And where to have the Christmas party (provided parameters are provided)? That’s a definite “you decide” contender.

Build trust with your team by being transparent about which approach you are adopting and why.

For example, if you’ve decided a certain situation requires guiding and a hierarchical approach, don’t mask it as enabling or cooperation and then veto the outcome or manipulate the conversation to reach your desired outcome. This will just frustrate the heck out of your team and lower trust within the group. A better approach would be to make the call, communicate this to the team and outline why you have made the call yourself.

Most importantly, see if you can adopt a collaborative or autonomous decision-making approach as often as you can. Give yourself a gold star every time you do.

The result? You’ll free up your time, share the decision-making load, and catalyse more enthusiasm to the way forward.

For more information on power and decision-making in leadership, download my free resource sheet:

Which decision-making approach do you use the most often in leadership?
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Suzi McAlpine

Suzi McAlpine is a Leadership Development Specialist and author of the award-winning leadership blog, The Leader’s Digest. She writes and teaches about accomplished leadership, what magic emerges when it’s present, and how to ignite better leadership in individuals, teams and organisations. Suzi has been a leader and senior executive herself, working alongside CEOs and executive teams in a variety of roles. Her experience has included being a head-hunter, an executive coach, and a practice leader for a division at the world’s largest HR consulting firm. Suzi provides a range of services as a Leadership Development Specialist, including executive coaching, leadership workshops and development programmes for CEOs, leadership teams and organisations throughout New Zealand.

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