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Maximum Leadership: 10 Questions to Sharpen Your Decision-Making Skills

Posted by Veronica Barrientes

Aug 24, 2014 4:40:00 PM

I have noticed that tough decisions can be stressful, resulting in body aches and pain amongst other symptoms such as headaches and fatigue.  I hope this blog will help you reverse the stress and health effects that can make life very uncomfortable.  I am sure we all have a tough decisions knocking at our door, so take a deep breath and exhale with a sigh of relief. 

We are all leaders; no one excluded whether, you are a leader with a title or leader within your duties we all face decision-making on a regular basis.  Good leadership is not a popularity contest, but hold on to the fact that good decisions earn you respect and loyalty.  leadershipOur careers are filled with difficult, sometimes unpopular choices, and our success rests on how we handle them.  There are two types of decisions: some decisions need an answer today and some we can and will procrastinate as long as possible.  I remember a leader that I admired telling me “procrastination is avoiding the difficult decisions and is a sign of mediocrity and shows you prefer to be liked rather than respected as a leader.’  Before we choose mediocrity know that it will set a trend of avoiding difficult decisions, avoiding confronting people who need to be confronted, and avoiding offering different rewards based on different performances because someone might get upset.  We are all tempted to postpone and even avoid the tough decision and hard conversations; the road most traveled.  How do you find motivation to overcome the tough decision?  How do you learn to do what others don’t want to do or say what others don’t want to say? 

First you must decide you want to take a stand against the fear that surrounds the decision.  Take responsibility because the bottom line is: nothing changes if nothing changes, but change is inevitable, so embrace transformation with a positive mind-set.  Procrastination kills the effectiveness of today and potential of tomorrow for you as a leader.  Putting it off will not make it go away; doing something about it solves the problem and opens time and your mind for enjoying your solid decisions. Preparation for the decision at hand makes the conclusion a solid choice.  Prepare by doing research; filling in the blanks peels away the fear, removes the weight of the problem and boost confidence.  Write a list of information you need and people needed to ask for insight; most likely someone has experienced a similar decision.  Once you have taken responsibility and prepared now it’s time to reflect on the gained insights and things that may have surfaced.  Finally, you can determine your action plan.  Write down what will need to have done before you take action and a step-by-step strategy for the result.  Before a decision is communicated to those involved run your action plan by an experienced colleague or an expert for the decisions that evolve the business.  Using these four steps is promising and will remove fear and the overwhelming weight of the decision-making to an attainable and comfortable process.  Let me offer a few other strategies to make the process easier.  Act immediately, great leaders act with limited information, don’t hedge, and take action using knowledge and instincts to guide them.  Be confident, doubt will only waste time and confuse you.  There are no rearview mirrors so make your decision and don’t look back.  Think of the payoff, your motivation to act comes from the benefits you envision.  Positive motives are the center of your focus; payoffs like team morale, productivity increased, and impacted bottom line.  It’s like going to the dentist – you may not look forward to the process, but the outcome is highly beneficial.

Change can be hard, but uncomfortable changes often lead to breakthroughs.  In every challenge lies the opportunity for growth and growing is a wonderful part of life so why not enjoy the unavoidable.  Let’s make growing easy with ten questions to sharpen your decision-making skills:

1.    What are my options? Look beyond the obvious.

2.    Is this decision mutually beneficial? Don’t think only about yourself.

3.    What are the risks? Can you accept them?

4.    Is my choice timely? You should be leading the pack, not following.

5.    Do I have staying power? You should be able to stick with your choice no matter how much work or sacrifice it means. 

6.    What are the long-term ramifications? Think beyond the present.

7.    Have I asked for advice? Who has the expertise to offer meaningful guidance?

8.    Am I afraid to pull the trigger? And if so, why?

9.    Am I making a convenient decision or the right one? The choice should match your values.

10.  Have I validated my decisions through prayer or quiet reflection?

Now that you have been refreshed as a leader, remember to embrace the decisions of others because it wasn’t an easy task to overcome the fear of the making a decision.  Respecting the decisions of others also contributes to reducing stress and chaos throughout the process of implementation of the decision.  

Topics: Leadership

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