Whether the organization you work for has a mentoring program, a leadership development program, or no program at all, a large part of your leadership development ultimately depends on you. Even with the best programs in place, if you aren’t taking the learnings to heart you will not become a great leader. If the organization you work for doesn’t have any programs in place, you may feel a little overwhelmed trying to become an effective leader on your own.
One way professionals in a leadership position can take on their own leadership development is by improving their decision making ability. Every leader has to make difficult decisions, and needs to be able to do so quickly and decisively. Here are a few ways you can cultivate and refine good decision-making skills as a leader:
Cultivate your EI. EI, or Emotional Intelligence is a big key to making better decisions as a leader. Many times leaders are under stress when they have to make decisions affecting their employees or the organization they work for. Unfortunately, many of the decisions that are made based on emotions are ineffective.
Work on becoming more aware of your thoughts and feelings. Understanding how your emotions can play into your decision-making abilities can help you to hone in on and control them or use them to enhance your decisions. This will allow you to better manage your emotions to make better business decisions and communicate them to others effectively.
Don’t overanalyze. This is a common pitfall when it comes to decision making. Many times there is more than one right choice, and it is impossible to really know the outcome of either choice until a good amount of time has passed. This can cause some leaders to overanalyze data, run too many reports, and then become overwhelmed. They “freeze” as it were, unable to make a final decision.
While it is important to analyze a situation before making a decision, after you have done what you can, you have to trust yourself. If you are confident about your decision, there is a much better chance of success, since your employees will reflect that confidence. If you lack confidence, even the best idea can fail.
Make the best out of a bad decision. Inevitably, even with the best intentions, not all of a leader’s decisions will work out. Some will have a greater negative impact on others, but when this happens don’t spend too much time dwelling on the negative. Remember that you did your best at the time. Then, be proactive! Is there a way you can adjust the decision to make it a more positive one? Owning up to your bad decision will make those you manage respect you more and will be more willing to help you effect change. Finally, determine what you have learned from this experience and use it to help you continue your decision-making development to become a better leader.