If you struggle to make confident and decisive decisions, second-guess yourself, or rely too heavily on the input of others, you’re not alone. Decision-making is one of the most important leadership skills you can develop. As a leader, you’re responsible for making choices that impact your team, organization, and stakeholders. No pressure! Developing your decision-making skills is one way to become more confident and effective.
Leadership involves making tough decisions, which can often have significant consequences for an organization and its stakeholders. For this reason, leaders need to be confident and decisive in their decision-making, regardless of their disposition. Here are seven areas to look into and consider improving. Pick one or two to work on and start today.
1. Strive to develop expertise in your field, which doesn’t mean you need to be an expert in every area but seek opportunities to learn, grow and constantly challenge yourself to expand your knowledge base. By becoming an expert in your field, you’ll make informed decisions and feel more confident in your abilities. Start by identifying areas where you feel insecure and less knowledgeable. Then, seek opportunities to learn from experts in those areas by attending conferences, taking courses, or reading industry publications. For example, if you’re a marketing professional and feel unsure about the latest trends in social media marketing, attend a social media marketing conference or workshop to learn from industry experts. Seek feedback from colleagues and mentors on your strengths and areas for improvement, and actively work to improve your knowledge and skills. You’ll become a more well-rounded and confident decision-maker in your field by constantly challenging yourself.
2. Trust your instincts. While it’s noble to be open to feedback and input from others, don’t discount your judgment and instincts. Trust yourself and your gut feelings when making decisions. Trusting your instincts can be challenging, especially when surrounded by others who may disagree with your perspective. One way to build trust in your instincts is to note past successes when you’ve followed your intuition. Reflect on situations where your instincts served you well, and use those experiences as evidence to build confidence. It’s helpful to seek opinions from trusted colleagues or mentors who can provide objective feedback while respecting your instincts. For example, if you’re considering a new business opportunity, gather input from others on the venture’s feasibility while weighing in on your intuition. Trusting your instincts doesn’t mean ignoring facts and data. It means balancing that information with your judgment to make informed decisions.
3. Seek advice and input from others. No one person has all the answers, so it’s essential to surround yourself with a network of colleagues and experts who can offer guidance and insights when needed. By gathering their input, you can make more informed and confident decisions. Identify the key people in your network with expertise in areas you need to improve. Reach out to these individuals and ask for their input, making it clear that you value their expertise and are open to their ideas. Listen to their feedback and be open to incorporating their suggestions into your decision-making. When communicating decisions to your team, clarify that you’ve sought input from others and considered all perspectives. This demonstrates your confidence in your judgment and shows your team that you value collaboration and input from others.
4. Consider the big picture when making decisions. Think beyond the immediate impact of your choices and consider the long-term implications for your organization and its stakeholders, which will help you make more strategic and thoughtful decisions. Evaluate the larger context of your decision and consider how it aligns with your organization’s values, goals, and mission. Assess the potential consequences for your team, clients, shareholders, and the broader community. This helps you make informed decisions that align with your long-term vision. For example, if you’re considering a new product launch, think beyond the initial profits and evaluate its potential impact on your company’s reputation and customer loyalty. By viewing the big picture, you make strategic and thoughtful decisions that benefit your organization in the long run.
5. Be willing to take calculated risks. While being mindful of potential risks and drawbacks is good, take bold steps that drive innovation and growth. First, assess any decision’s potential risks and benefits, then consider the likelihood of success, the potential impact on your organization, and any other factors that could affect the outcome. Once you’ve evaluated these factors, take calculated risks that push the boundaries of what’s been done before. Taking calculated risks can drive innovation and growth in your organization while remaining mindful of potential setbacks. Making mistakes is okay if you learn from them and use those lessons to inform future decisions.
6. Communicate your decisions clearly and effectively to your team. Explain the rationale behind your choices and outline the steps that will be taken to implement them. You want to help your team understand the reasoning behind your decisions and feel more invested in the process. Explain the context and background behind your decision, and be transparent about your thinking process, how you arrived at your conclusion, and why it’s the best course of action. Provide a clear plan for implementing the decision, including timelines, milestones, and necessary resources. Doing so helps your team understand why the decision was made and feel more invested in the process, which can help improve morale and increase overall productivity.
7. Learn from your mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes from time to time. View them as opportunities for learning and growth, and use them to refine your decision-making process and improve your skills. Reflect on your decisions to examine what went wrong and why. Consider what you could have done differently, and take steps to prevent similar mistakes from happening in the future. This process of self-reflection and learning can be potent when shared with others. Discussing mistakes and lessons learned with colleagues and other trusted advisors can provide new perspectives and insights that help you grow and improve as a leader. In a business setting, you could organize regular meetings or roundtables to discuss mistakes and lessons learned to promote a culture of continuous improvement.
By following these seven tips, you can become a more confident and decisive leader who can make informed decisions that drive success and growth for your organization. So what are you waiting for?
People look up to leaders for guidance and direction. When a leader hesitates or wavers in their decision-making, it confuses and erodes trust, ultimately leading to a breakdown in communication and teamwork. On the other hand, when leaders are confident and decisive in their decision-making, they inspire trust and confidence in their abilities. They can make informed decisions quickly and effectively, communicate them clearly, and positively move the organization or cause forward.
Becoming more confident and decisive in your decision-making is no easy feat, especially when you’re a busy business professional juggling a million things simultaneously. One of the biggest challenges you may face is imposter syndrome — that insidious voice in your head that tells you you’re not good enough or qualified enough to make the tough calls. Fear of failure could hold you back, making you second-guess every decision and preventing you from taking calculated risks that could pay off big time. Whatever your obstacle, it’s essential that you recognize and work on overcoming it. Remember, you didn’t get to where you are today by playing it safe and staying in your comfort zone.
If you want to manage better and lead well, develop confidence and decisiveness in your decision-making. Take steps to aid you in your personal development and success, the success of your organization or cause, and the people who follow you.
Your 90-Day Review
Review the last 90 days of your life. You could also incorporate this with your team’s quarterly performance review.
- You set some big goals; how are they going? Do you need to adjust them? Don’t go smaller. Reach higher.
- You met new people. Did anyone positively influence your life, your goals, and your success? Have you appreciated them?
- Where have you spent your time and money? These give a hint as to what you value. Knowing that will anything change?
- What have you tolerated that you swore you would stop putting up with? What fear have you conquered, challenge overcome, talent strengthened?
- What commitments have you made but not yet kept? What promises have you delivered?
- What have you learned about yourself?
- What actions, decisions, and communications must you complete to feel good about yourself?
- How have you celebrated your successes and near successes?
- What do you want to do, have, or be in the next 90 days?
- How satisfied are you with your progress over the last 90 days?
Download a free worksheet here: https://www.bimshasconsulting.com/downloads/90-day-review/
About Karl Bimshas
Karl Bimshas is a Boston-bred, California-chilled Leadership Consultant, Writer, and Podcast Host. As the founder of Karl Bimshas Consulting, he provides customized leadership development and accountability partnering to help employees and teams grow and succeed.
Follow Karl for valuable advice on thriving in today’s workplace.