Decision-Making During Turbulent Times

Abraham Lincoln, the former American president, is probably at the epitome as a ‘decision-maker’. He led his decisions like he meant them. However, in today’s world things are way too different. Due to various factors like evolving markets, technology changes, socio-cultural events, etc. challenging decisions are forcing us into deliberation – this is where the problem lies; many employees and company leaders are afraid to assume a leadership role for fear of decisions turning out wrong.

Why Is Decision-Making So Stressful At Corporate Levels?

Decisions are easy to make when they are not ‘life-deciding’. However, when it comes to the corporate level, each decision comes with its rewards and ramifications. Sometimes, decision making may seem like an enticing proposition to some leaders, but others might try to pass on the baton to shun their responsibilities in most cases. So, how to reach a decision when no one is ready to own it up?

The power of a ‘Decision’

A decision can make or break a workplace. From tax cuts leading to union strikes, pay hikes leading to budgetary losses, firing employees without cause leading to litigation, etc., executive decision-making during turbulent times is a massive responsibility which usually lies in the hands of business owners, HR managers and compliance professionals.

The lack of leadership training is a major culprit. Very few workplaces train their staff on leadership skills. The biggest problem is that most managers and their superiors are so self-involved in their operational commitments, that they are stuck in a rut; leaving them limited scope to exercise leadership. When the sword finally looms on their head to make a decision, nerves get the best of them and such severe stress is the main reason for their ravaged physical and psychological health.

Overtime is another ally in this mishap, it leaves them no room for personal relationships which further impedes productivity. Chances are that even in your workplace, you might see workers either making hasty and often wrong decisions or mulling over decisions which are supposedly easy and straight-forward.

How to Overcome This Dysfunction?

Leadership is inherent in each and every individual – the only thing left to do is to tap into that potential. Lack of leadership is due to various reasons like time-consuming people, managerial attitudes towards their employees, staying in the comfort zone, etc. This can be solved!

Leadership Programs: People generally tend to shy away from a decision since they try to avoid getting thrust into a tense situation – basic human nature. Humans also have this tendency to challenge their decisions by asking themselves, ‘Was that decision any good?’ This is where leadership programs, inclusion initiatives and talent hunts can solve lack of leadership skills.
Openly Questioning Facts: The best way to reach a conclusion in a math problem is to solve it. Asking questions, problem-solving and weighing the pros and cons can hasten the decision-making process and also instill the notion that the wisdom of a decision was not by choice, but by tact and responsible action.
Active Involvement: A battle is won when you are on the frontline, not in your comfort zone. Similarly, if you do not take interest in the matter-at-hand, chances are that there will always be somebody else who will take the icing on the cake and take credit for the decision. If you want to assume better leadership at your workplace, it is time to take your job seriously, however mundane the problem may seem.
Advisory Panel: Criticism questions credibility and this is what matters while making high-profile decisions. An advisory panel or board will always eliminate the possible moot points. A recommendation like this will help you get concrete facts and soon a decision will be born.

What to Do When a ‘Leader’ Can’t Come Up With a Decision?

Leaders may not always be adept in decisions! Leadership is not a synonym to effective decisions. Leaders are good and bad, but decisions cannot be bad, they have to be good for the company’s survival. If your leader cannot make decisions ‘on the fly’ it is up to you to assist them in getting to the summit.

If you are the leader yourself, stick to a decision after weighing its pros and cons. If your decisions have negative effects in the future, arbitrary proceedings will decide what went wrong, but until then, at least you stuck to what you stood by. If you have the habit of constantly changing your mind, your decision-making skill set will never be taken seriously by your staff. Always remember that you have two images to uphold – your own and that of your business.

Conclusion

Decisions may not always turn out great – many people’s livelihoods matter upon them which makes them all the more strenuous. However, not wanting to make a decision is the ultimate poison that challenges and defeats a leader. Not wanting to become a part of the difficulty makes you resistive to decision-making and be perceived as a ‘no-good’ in the workplace.

Our suggestion is to stick with the litmus-test approach – maximize your opportunities to make decisions and see how they fare out. Always work in teams and remember that you do not have to reach the conclusion on your own. Companies are multi-tiered for this sole reason – a network of supporters to propel the entire business further. So, take chances, learn more and believe in yourself.

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