Decision making

Making decisions. Whether you’re the kind of person that makes decisions easily or you take 10 minutes to choose which socks to put on in the morning, this is something we do countless times a day, every day.

While some decisions may be fleeting and relatively inconsequential (what to have for breakfast or what colour trousers to wear, etc.), others will have a lasting impact on our lives and the lives of others. We will all come across situations where we will have to make important decisions.

Let’s look at the types of decision we might make:

  • Autocrative– This is a decision you make on your own and take full responsibility for the outcome of.
  • Consultative– 2 heads are better than 1! How about 3 or 4? Consultative decision making considers the advice and experience of others to help make a choice, but ultimately, you are still the decision maker.
  • Collaborative– Everyone within a group is involved in making the decision and has input and ownership. The final decision could either be made by a democratic vote or by coming to a conclusion that every member of the group is happy with.
  • Delegative– You are not part of the decision-making process yourself, you nominate someone else to take on that responsibility.

How much time do you have?

So, when would you use each of these? Well, that depends on a couple of factors. Firstly, how much time do you have? Obviously, getting a consensus from a group will be a lot more time consuming than deciding on your own.

How complex is the decision?

Next, how complex is the decision? Do you have access to all of the information you need to be able to make an informed choice? If not, who do you need to involve? If any of the information needed for the decision-making process is sensitive or confidential, it may be necessary to limit those who have access to it, but by ensuring you have all the facts to hand, you are enabling yourself to make to most effective choice you can.

Who will the decision affect?

Finally, who will the decision affect? We’ve talked before about employee engagement and the impact this has on your business’ bottom line. One way to increase engagement is to involve staff in decision making. The number and seniority of those involved is up to you, but by giving a voice to those who may benefit or suffer as a result of choices made, you increase their sense of being a valued employee and they are more likely to endorse the final decision, even if it was not a solution they would have gone for themselves. Equally, if the credit or blame is likely to fall at least partly at their feet, participants are more likely to work to seek a viable solution.

Still not feeling decisive enough? Look out for our next blog, where we’ll be looking at some top tips to help you move from uncertainty to action.

If you’d like to improve the decision making within your own team, Performance Workplace Development can deliver a Problem Solving and Decision Making course.