Making good decisions as a leader February 11, 2023 by Belinda EganEver lose sleep over decisions you’ve made (or haven’t made)? How much of your day is filled with mulling over a decision or doubting your ability to make the “right one”? And how do you measure whether a decision was the right one or not? Today we’re exploring decisions: how you make them now, how you can make them more efficiently, and why it’s important for a leader to have a strong and foolproof method for making decisions. We’re going to look at three areas that affect your ability to make decisions and how you can take incremental steps toward fine-tuning these things to make better decisions: Your emotions and decision-making Your experience and decision-making Your circumstances and decision-making Good decision-making is one of the top skills a leader must possess, so if you’re currently in a leadership role or working towards one, today’s topic is timely for you. Your emotions and decision-making In the corporate world, we’re told to “leave emotions out of it” when making big decisions like hiring and firing, downsizing, restructuring, or taking certain team members off projects or tasks. This is a load of crap, frankly. First of all, it can’t be done. No one makes an entirely emotionless big decision at work. And secondly, it’s terrible advice. We should be using our emotions as one of our guides when making important decisions at work. That is if our emotional health is intact. If you’re taking good care of yourself mentally, you’ll feel prepared for each day ahead – like you’re pouring from a full jug. If you practice good self-awareness and self-acceptance, your emotional state will be much more controlled. When you have good emotional health practices, you acknowledge and accept that many feelings will come up when you’re faced with a tough decision at work, but those feelings don’t mean facts. When you’re asked to make a decision at work that will inevitably affect a group of people, your feelings might fluctuate rapidly between terror, anger, resentment, confusion, envy, determination, and a sense of loyalty. Your job is to feel all of those things because they’re earnest, real feelings, but not let them keep you from making the best decision for your team and organization. Stuffing your feelings and keeping them totally to yourself isn’t healthy for you or anyone else. You won’t be showing up as the authentic version of yourself that’s trying your best – you’ll be wearing a mask and feeling lonely behind it. While it’s not professional to dump your feelings on your team, it’s wise and encouraged to talk about your feelings with your team when you’re making tough calls that will affect more than just you. In this way, you’re validating the emotions of your team by showing them you feel what they feel, but you’re also showing them that you’re trying to make a well-balanced decision that’s not being swayed by strong negative emotions. Your experience and decision-making You’ve made a lifetime of decisions to get to this point. Some great, some terrible. If you’re currently in a leadership role, you were most likely hired because of your experience with making decisions under pressure. A strong leader lets their past guide their future decisions but also looks closely at missteps along the way and what can be learned from them. This takes a lot of reflection and honesty on your part. How have you let strong negative emotions sway your decisions in the past? In which ways have you hurt the people around you with your decisions? Have you ever put your own needs above the needs of your team when making decisions? These are areas to look closely at. Take pride in past decisions that have led you here, but never forget the times you’ve made bad decisions that have negatively affected others. Look closely at them. Do better because of them. Your circumstances and decision-making When your personal life is in shambles, it’s almost guaranteed that your decision-making skills are being negatively affected. This is a common understanding and why “personal leave” exists in the corporate world. But what about if your “circumstance” is a culture of high pressure to perform, tight budget constraints, and low levels of communication between advisors and staff? If this is your current situation, take a beat and make sure you’re making good decisions by looking at what is in your control: Your commitment to communicating well with your staff and treating them with respect Protecting your team members from unfair conditions at work Advocating for better conditions whenever possible. You will be asked to do things as a leader that don’t “sit right” with you throughout your entire career. That’s the nature of the job: making tough calls, others don’t want to or aren’t equipped to make. When you have a solid vision for your leadership trajectory, you’re guided by your principles and goals. This makes decision-making much easier… Even the really tough calls! If your vision for your future looks blurry, your trajectory is in danger. Set yourself up for a highly satisfying leadership career and life-changing by exploring Leadership Development opportunities with Belinda. Check them out here.