10 min read
Decision-making for leaders may be difficult even if you’re an experienced specialist. Our guide reviews the best practices to help you improve your leadership skills.
Making a decision after weighing all the details and thinking about it for a year doesn’t sound like great leadership. But deciding on the go and choosing randomly also isn’t the best tactic.
So, what do you do? How can you strike that delicate balance between too slow and too fast?
As a leader, you’re taking responsibility for the consequences of decisions that impact the employees' workflow. In terms of marketing, this means the outcomes of marketing campaigns, the number of new leads, and the amount of revenue your team eventually brings.
Decision-making is tricky. But this guide will help you improve your skills. The process is pretty tricky, but this guide on decision-making for leaders will help you to improve your skills.
Company executives are in constant search of increasing their ability to make fast and effective decisions to put an end to arising problems or even prevent them. Gained skills in making well-informed decisions can help leaders become more productive, use available resources better, and collaborate more with a team.
Some managers tend to micromanage their people and projects, creating so much pressure that their team members either burn out or quit.
In a good scenario, managers should build relationships, communicate, and consult with the team. They make decisions wisely, based not only on their expertise but also on the advice of every specialist on that team.
Leadership requires a balance of exceptional decision-making based on your experience and business intuition and team collaboration based on trust and empathy.
Let’s keep that in mind while we explore the different types of decision-making and recommendations for the best upskilling of your decisions.
First of all, there are several decision-making styles or types. They differ in the degree of employee empowerment and the approaches executives use in the process:
This type implies a quick decision-making process with little to no contribution accepted by others. This is a common option when an immediate solution has to be agreed upon. There’s almost no place for worker empowerment, even if the solution relates to them.
A great example is a CEO looking for possibilities to match employees' investments in the 401(k) fund. Only the CEO knows what’s best in this case as he can analyze the company's budget, possibly taking into account the financial department's idea contributions.
This is the opposite of directive decision-making. People using this approach are open to the ideas and opinions of the team. This type implies big-picture thinking where input from several team members is needed. It’s typical for situations requiring creative solutions.
A suitable example is a young company’s decision on expansion over the next 1, 2, 3, etc. years. This may be a physical store opening, a showroom opening near the store, etc.
This approach is what its name implies. People use analytical decision-making to gather and analyze data, estimating average trends or vice versa, looking for every detail that may become a clue to find the most balanced, well-fit solution. These people take time to make a decision and are very task-oriented.
Marketing managers often use this type because there’s lots of data that can be gathered and analyzed to make the best decision. For example, if the task is to widen the target audience for a campaign, analysis and reporting are the way to go.
This type of decision-making almost fully relies on team-wide relationships. A consensus is critical in this process, so the level of empowerment in the workplace, in this case, is quite high. Usually, the decisions to be made concern employees, so this is the only loyal way – to include their wishes in the discussion.
For example, in the ideal case, HR initiatives for employee engagement should include solutions that take into account the interests of those employees. So, logically, their opinions must be on the table when decisions about the initiatives are made.
Now, choosing the right type of decision-making isn’t enough for a successful solution. Here, we present the best leadership recommendations that will make it easier to make the right questions and get the right answers, and come up with correct choices no matter the situation.
It’s easy to be guided by your personal goals, especially if you’re the CEO of a company. However, your own milestones shouldn’t lie at the base of your decisions for the business. Keep in mind that you have people working for you, and pursuing your own goals will make them feel abandoned. With that said, it’s important to ensure you are also engaging your employees, allowing them to want to contribute, feel like they belong, and believe in what they do.
This will lead to lower employee satisfaction, higher turnover, and losing trust in the colleagues’ eyes.
Before thinking about a solution, know what you’re working on improving.
Suppose you’re working on an employee retention plan. In that case, you should critically analyze the workplace you offer, employee satisfaction rates, retention benefits, and types of employee turnover to find out what issues your company has. This helps employees feel enabled. Enabled employees can easily navigate what they need and can communicate without much frustration or noise.
A clear picture of the current state of affairs may open your eyes and make you see the right choices.
Business executives often face uncertainty when making decisions. Many of the decisions can be reasonably estimated through in-depth strategic analysis, such as measuring profit margins for marketing strategy, calculating cannibalization risks for expanding product development, etc. However, decision-making for leaders can require taking a step into the unknown to understand the problem and test the strategy.
At all times, know the balance between the revenue and expenses of your business or team. If you’re taking a risk, you have to know how long you’ll be able to maintain that balance if the worst happens.
To fully understand the scale of the situation, you should first prioritize your risks and uncertainties. Use critical thinking when looking into launching a campaign to make sure the team/business will be able to stay afloat.
Some decisions require quantitative and other types of analysis. Quantitative analysis is an analysis method that uses both statistical and mathematical measurement, and modeling to understand behavior.
For example, marketing is based on data, even though it deals directly with people’s feelings and behavior patterns. So, deciding your campaign's direction without seeing the previous one's numbers, analyzing your current website traffic, etc., will just be a walk in the dark.
Thus, having a functionality on hand that allows you to work with the data and estimate your progress is one of the first things to consider. If you are an SEO or online marketing manager, consider an SEO reporting tool by SE Ranking or a similar report generator to make data-driven decisions and communicate the data to your team or clients effectively.
Most corporate decisions affect the teams you work within one way or another. So, it’s wise to regularly gather feedback about the projects you create and manage, discuss solutions, work process improvement, and hold regular meetings. Ensure you know the people working for you, what they think about the office, tasks, management, etc.
Assemble feedback and respond to it, making the employees feel heard and appreciated for their honesty and time.
Use a feedback tool to keep in touch with your employees, discover their challenges, and empower them to improve by adjusting the workplace, engagement programs, etc. And while giving feedback, also make sure you get the chance to celebrate your employees. Individuals want to know that their contribution matters because they feel seen for what they bring to a team.
Leaders need to shift and experiment in times when jobs, employees, and technology are changing rapidly. The manager’s responsibility is to adapt to the changing external pressures facing the company, adjust the management style, review working plans, and consider team concerns during a particular change.
Imagine an employee who comes up with new ideas that were never discussed or implemented before in your company. The first reaction is obviously resistance, as some managers get used to working in their comfort zone and want nothing to be changed. Being flexible and considering your employees' opinions is the best decision in such a situation because you enable them and show that their work is meaningful. Otherwise, the inability to adapt to changes may cause workflow progress failures, anxiety from other team members, decreased employee enthusiasm, team retention, and employee empowerment in the workplace.
For example, many marketing specialists choose not to come back to the office full-time after they’ve realized how convenient it can be to work from home.
Some employers listen, adapt, and offer several remote working days or hire fully remote specialists. Others fail to adjust and lose wonderful experts.
When you feel burnout and information overload, which can happen very easily in the modern world, you can’t think properly, and the correct decision is impossible to make.
Lack of alignment between all the discussions, weak workflow organization, and overload of irrelevant information can all lead to burnout. Moreover, executives are exposed to processing and filtering tones of incoming information and tasks in a short period of time during the day.
CEOs must find a balance between traditional workflow organization and modern technology to boost productivity. As a manager, you should limit any unnecessary communications, control the number of messages, emails, and comments via productivity apps, and adjust notifications. Next, avoid unnecessary general meetings and prioritize 20-minute communications in person to build stronger employee relationship management, generate more ideas, and solve problems faster. Finally, create a central repository for your business to structure the information that reduces employees' time searching for information. Spend your time creating shared spaces for collaboration and file sharing, such as corporate intranet platforms. Reducing noise helps people focus and feel more productive!
Workplace transparency means sharing information openly with your team via sharing company performance results, discussing an issue, and communicating honest feedback with the team to benefit both the business and employees.
Be honest and transparent with your team when it comes to decision-making for long-term success. Communication is key in helping employees feel enabled. It results in trust between the leader and employees, helps improve performance, strengthens workplace culture and values, and lowers job-related stress.
The best way to create a trusting employer-employee relationship is:
After compiling all the information above, we concluded that leadership and decision-making qualities create a successful circle and are fundamental for employee relationship management. Proper leadership requires sharp decision-making, while the latter can improve your leadership qualities.
Relying on gut feeling may work for some people only if they evaluate their own tasks, career moves, etc. Suppose we’re talking about a team, a marketing one, for example, not only your feelings and opinion matter.
Utilize employee relationship management, employer-employee relations, etc. You always have the professional and psychological support of your team.
Choose the right type of decision-making depending on the topic in question and the circumstances. Also, always be honest with your team (and yourself, of course), use quantitative analysis when needed, and switch on critical thinking and logic.
Don’t forget to use digital tools to communicate with your team, perform data analysis and reporting to see the real state of affairs, accept and process feedback, etc. There’s a tool for everything nowadays, and the ones we mentioned in this article will help you turn decision-making into a convenient process with a clear algorithm.
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