How to Make Decisions as a Leader

tip tuesday

As a new leader, your mind is likely swirling. So much to do! So many questions! And more importantly, so many decisions to make. From the trivial to the critical, your role as the leader requires you to make thousands of decisions daily. 

But wait, you’re new at this! You don’t necessarily know all the answers. That’s ok. You’re in this position because you know something. So lean into that. Weigh the options and then decide. You may make mistakes but over time, you will make less and less of those. Plus, your confidence will build with time. So, even your mistakes will look good! 

So the tip of the week is this…make decisions! It’s your role. Don’t shy away from this important aspect of your role. Instead, seek insight, consider the options, and then decide.  

A Few Decision-Making Approaches

There are several approaches to decision-making that I consider when faced with a decision-making situation.  Below, you’ll see a range of options, including a few of my favorites. As you can see, these run the spectrum from an authoritarian approach to completely delegating the decision-making process. Spend some time reviewing these models on your own. 

Two factors weigh heavily on how I choose my approach: the time I have to make the decision and the amount of involvement I am looking for from others.  Ironically, these two factors typically intertwine as involving more people in decision-making takes more time. If I have quite a bit of time to make a decision, I may be willing to use a particular approach, perhaps one that includes more voices.  So, an approach like consensus works well as considerable time is needed to gain consensus among a group of individuals. On the other hand, if there is a looming deadline, I will likely choose an approach that involves fewer people and limits complexity.  If time isn’t an important factor, I’ll consider how knowledgeable I am about the situation and if I need input from others in making the decision. If I know little about the topic, I may delegate the decision to an expert. If I know much more about the topic, I may gather input from others before deciding.  

While these are just two considerations amid many others, time and level of involvement are extremely useful in identifying the best approach for making a decision as the leader based on the circumstances. Regardless of your approach, step into your role as a leader, and make a decision.  It’s essential to your role and likely what your team is seeking from you. So, don’t shy away from it.  Assess the situation and decide.  You can do it!

Try these approaches to making decisions today. Be sure to share with another leader who may find these tips helpful!

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