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Think like a leader : 5 steps to making decisions

A big part of any leadership role, be it team management or managing a large portfolio, leaders are expected to provide decisions on various matters. Leaders would want their teams to be empowered in decision making, and making good decisions comes from preparation and practice.  

So, How do we make good decisions? 

Here is a cheat card of 5 steps to enable you to make good decisions.

Let us take a hypothetical example. 

e.g. You would like to organise training for a few members of your team.

  1. Convert the activity to a business case and find the concepts 
  2. This is the most difficult step. More often than not, as employees in an organisation, we expect us to be guided through a problem at hand. This is where thinking like a leader makes a person stand out. Instead of someone and receiving a decision we can look at the factors and concepts that will affect the scenario.

    Let us analyse our current scenario at hand. Training is a great way to improve the productivity of the team. Training also means time away from current work happening towards any projects. The training could also have direct costs associated with it like training fees. 

    This means there are stakeholders involved, who will have to find a balanced outcome, based on project impacts vs long term benefits, informing the right people about any possible delays, costs approvals and so on.

    Certain concepts have emerged from this scenario. Training, productivity/quality improvement, project management, cost management are those that we have explored so far.

    A leader's approach should be to analyse these factors and present the closest options to a decision as possible. 

  3. Compare to existing processes and guidelines
  4. Now that a few concepts involved in the request are identified, existing processes and policies around these can be explored. Examples can include processes for requesting training, available information about the budget and time requirements for the activity and necessary approvals.      

    It will present the details of how to go about this request and the chances of arriving at possible decisions on the matter.

  5. Consider side effects
  6. Project management is a concept that was identified earlier, consider current project deadlines and the effect this training will have on the project including time away from work and possible productivity improvements. 

    Other factors could include individual training goals that the team members already planned for and alignment of this training to it.

  7. Check if precedence is being set
  8. See if the scenario and solution options that emerged set a new precedence. This step is not always required, however mature decision-makers think about the long-term effects of how certain decisions can become the norm.      

  9. Communicate exceptions vs norm
  10. That brings us to the final point. Communicate clearly on the request, call out if the proposal is standard or an exception due to a special circumstance. This helps the decision-makers to come to an arrangement quickly. 

The more this thought process is practised with various scenarios, the less onerous it becomes. The outcomes from this approach are: 
  1. A favourable decision is likely to be made from a solution that was suggested, 
  2. An unfavourable decision is made but it provided insight into a process or a concept that was not considered in this scenario 
  3. and in any case, it contributes to becoming better at solving problems and increases trust in your approach to problems.

This also provides the decision-makers with an opportunity to take note of the team's ability in making decisions and improves the trust factor and confidence to delegate everyday decisions.

Does this article resonate with you? Let me know in the comments below

Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash


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