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Decision making


Decision making is an essential leadership skill. If you can learn how to make timely, well-considered decisions, then you can lead your team to well-deserved success. The first key in understanding how to make great decisions is learning how to synthesize the overwhelming amount incoming information leaders must deal with on a daily basis, while making the best decisions possible in a timely fashion. The key to dealing with the voluminous amounts of information is as simple as becoming discerning surrounding the filtering of various inputs.

There are processes and techniques to improve decision-making and the quality of decisions. Decision making techniques can be separated into two broad categories:

  • Group decision making techniques
  • Individual decision making techniques

The method used depends on the nature of the decision to be made and how complex it is.  The method described below follows seven stages.

The stages are:

  1. Listing all possible solutions/options.
  2. Setting a time scale and deciding who is responsible for the decision.
  3. Information gathering.
  4. Weighing up the risks involved.
  5. Deciding on values, or in other words what is important.
  6. Weighing up the pros and cons of each course of action.
  7. Making the decision.

When trying to make a good decision, a person must weight the positives and negatives of each option, and consider all the alternatives. The decision maker(s) may face a problem when they try to rank alternatives in terms of how attractive they are when all the criteria are considered simultaneously. Time and emotion also play a role in the quality of decision making – the more time, the more deliberate the decision making process. Secondly, the more that is at stake, emotion will come into play, rising as the decision making timeline is reached.