The ability to make good business decisions is an extremely valuable skill and those who can process information and extract the pertinent points before drawing their own conclusions are highly sought after. Making sound judgments is a talent that needs to be developed just like any other, but as Matt Myatt, leadership advisor and author says, “Nothing will test your leadership mettle more than your ability to make decisions.”
Leaders fail because they make poor choices that ultimately result in negative business outcomes. Decision-making and leadership are not mutually exclusive, they go hand-in-hand and often the success of a manager boils down to his or her decision-making prowess.
With this in mind, it is clear that making the right decisions is critical to your own personal achievement and that of your company. So how do you ensure you are ticking all the boxes and giving yourself the greatest chance of success? A recent survey published in the International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics, which questioned more than 600 board directors indicated that women are more likely to consider the rights of others and take a cooperative approach to decision-making. This approach translates into better performance for their companies.
Women tend to enter the arena more open to suggestion, they are happy to let those around them change their mind and they are willing to compromise. Men on the other hand tend to quickly make a decision based on what evidence they have to hand at that given moment and use other peoples arguments to support their own pre-conceived conclusion. Interestingly, and perhaps surprisingly, there is also evidence to suggest that women are more likely to put their neck on the line and do away with decision-making rules to offer the solution they believe works best for the situation.
Business is evolving; no longer is there a right or wrong way to do things, people are taking more risks and doing away with traditional rules and regulations. Considering this it could be fair to suggest that women tend to adopt a more successful approach to decision-making compared to their male peers. Less bound by the need to appear unmoving, dominant and authoritative, women have the flexibility to listen, consider and react to multiple opinions and viewpoints.
Tips For Making Sound Business Decisions: The Female Way
Embrace A Collaborate Approach To Decision-making
Traditionally men end a conversation once they’ve hit a solution, while women make sure they have heard everyone’s thoughts before making a decision. Taking the time to seek multiple opinions is extremely important. If you cut the conversation short before taking everyone’s ideas into account you risk missing something vital. Only a fool makes a decision without utilizing all the information at their disposal; listen to those around you, seek multiple opinions, question ideas and take guidance from a team of people you trust. Not only will this approach better equip you to make the right decision, it will also go a long way to getting your team on board when it comes to executing your strategy.
Don’t Be Afraid to Change Your Mind
It is human nature to have an argument or end result in mind when you enter discussions, but try not to be blinkered by these initial thoughts. Being open to suggestions and willing to adjust your notion of what’s important will ultimately lead to a more considered decision. Changing your mind is not a sign of weakness, in fact it’s the opposite; having the leadership strength to admit your initial conclusion perhaps wasn’t the right one is applaudable. When it comes to decision-making the only way to succeed is to do away with misplaced pride. If you stand by your argument blindly you could lead your company and your employees down a dark alley.
Having said this, leadership is about considering all the facts on the table and making a final decision based on the data available. Have strength in your conviction and don’t be pulled every which way by different arguments and agendas. Once you have the facts make your own decision and stick with it.
Don’t Play Games Or Make A Decision Based On Political Or Personal Gain
It should go without saying but if you are making a decision simply to gain favor in someone else’s eyes it’s destined to fail. Making decisions based on political advantage or personal gain is also a massive no. When you’re in a position of authority, don’t abuse it; what goes around comes around and you will end up falling on your face. Have conviction in your own decision-making capabilities and believe that if you make decisions for all the right reasons, you will encourage better performance at your company. The only way to succeed in business is by following your own moral compass and doing what is right – don’t let external influences cloud your judgment.
Consider The People On The Ground As Well As Those At The Top
Good leaders don’t just think about the impact decisions’ will have on a corporate level, they also consider the repercussions for those on the ground. Typically, female leaders are more in tune with their subordinates; they develop closer working relationships and upon entering a new company they are more excited about meeting the people they will be working with rather than schmoosing with the top dogs.
There are very few instances where corporate decisions will not have an impact on ground-level employees, and even fewer instances where these employees will not have to adapt their working habits in order to make change possible. With this in mind, it’s important that decisions are made with everyone in mind. One sure fire way to alienate your subordinates and thus cause problems for your business is to discount their interests when making decisions. Make sure you find that balance.
Take Calculated Risks
As we have already mentioned, business is far less prescriptive than it used to be and people who have the gumption to bend the rules often see great results. As Lynda Berry once said, “Expect the unexpected, and wherever possible, be the unexpected.”
When making decisions don’t confine yourself to ideas, concepts and systems that have existed beforehand. Think about what you’re trying to achieve and focus all your energy into finding the best solution for that problem, no matter how absurd it might sound at first. When it comes to decision-making, don’t curb or limit your approach – even the wildest ideas can develop into solid business plans.
Have Confidence In Your Decision
When all is said and done, it’s important to have confidence in your decision. You’ve done the legwork, you’ve done the research so if people question your judgment you can easily back it up with reasoning and facts. Don’t be backed into a corner but instead stand up for what you believe in. Good leaders have conviction in their argument, after all they have worked hard to come to that conclusion and believe it’s the best approach for the business.
If You Make A Mistake Hold Your Hands Up
Having said that, not every decision you make will be the right one, and sometimes holding your hands up and admitting you have made a mistake is the best thing to do – the hardest thing, but the best none-the-less. There is a famous quotation that says, “More people would learn from their mistakes if they weren’t so busy denying that they made them,” and these words of wisdom are important to remember.
If you and those around you come to the conclusion that the decision you made was wrong, admit it, learn from it and move on. The best decision is yet to come.