The one leadership quality you need - decision making
Have you ever been in a situation where you have a few alternatives to choose from? You need to make an important decision. Fast. By hook or by crook.
Here is a scenario for you. So, you and your friends are spending quality time together and when it is about time to choose a place or food to eat, you start contemplating. Should you dine-in or take-away? What kind of food are you going for this time around?
Time is ticking and you have to make the wisest decision at this life-and-death juncture because one of your friends is frugal yet high-maintenance, another is hopelessly following without an opinion, one is about to cause some drama and another is looking at his mobile phone non-stop; a possibility of everyone going round and round in circles, providing no solution or answer, leaving the matter hanging in the air.
Now, you have to make that final decision for everyone. All because everyone keeps blowing hot and cold about the choice of food. Is it? Or, is it because all of you are perhaps indecisive?
Food is essential to human life. Similarly, leadership and thus: decision making skills.
According to a Political Sociology Lecturer from the School of Social Sciences at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian, most young voters are still ‘on the fence’ in choosing their respective candidates for election.
When we think of what makes someone a great leader, one characteristic that comes to mind is decisiveness. Leaders make decisions confidently, and use decisions to motivate others.
We view them as people who are able to quickly arrive at their decisions and communicate their goals to others. They need to “think on their feet”.
Leaders build self-courage to speak up as they often have to make challenging decisions; which direction to move, and how to reposition and pivot in case of unseen circumstances. They must always be “on their toes”.
Making good decisions is a practice and thus; we have to start early. Making good decisions during difficult times takes more courage because these involve change, uncertainty, anxiety, stress and the cherry on top of the cake; always having to face the unfavourable reactions of others!
This is where your confidence, adaptability and agility come in. Ask yourself the question of ‘why’. “Why should I choose A instead of B?”
Decision making skills are valuable abilities that help make a great leader and innovator.
As the saying goes, “Never take an advice from, or let alone put your trust in those who aren’t getting the results you want to experience.” As an informed decision maker, when it comes to voting or electing your leader, you wouldn’t want to put your trust and vote those who have not walked the talk.
Be clear about the choices you have, gather information by doing personal observation via social media, background studies and research in order to base your decisions on facts and data rather than opinion and inclination of others.
Thus, you are able to identify, assess and choose the best option for you (with whatever current progressive knowledge and experience you have).
There are many techniques that are useful in the decision-making process.
A few you can try are: (1) Pros and cons- create a list of all the positive and negative effects that a decision may involve, (2) Trial and error- test your ideas/preference of choice to see the results in a specified time and (3) Decision-making tree- create a diagram of your options and potential results of this decision. Eventually, all these techniques can be applied in every single aspect of your life.
So, what should you do next if you’re still uncertain? Minimise your options. Take note however, that poor leaders avoid making decisions altogether and therefore they’ll make no decisions and let the situation make the decision for them, so that they cannot be blamed. I truly hope you are not training yourself towards becoming a poor leader.
Always hate attending a job interview as you’re not the one making the important decisions? Now is the time to turn the table around. Imagine those candidates are attending an interview to work for you (as they are supposed to). You are the one in control. You need to make the best decision for yourself and your country.
Who amongst those will contribute the most and provide utmost value? When you have chosen a particular destination, you can follow many different paths to the same destination.
Some are longer and slower than others.
It’s the same with choosing your leader or representative. They should assist you to get where you want to go. Some will just send you in circles. Don’t waste time.
Choose leaders who are good decision-makers who will get you to where you want to go with the fewest dead ends.
The power is in your hands.
You need to make up your mind already, don’t chop and change all the time. After all, you, yourself is a leader in the making. Trust yourself enough to make the right decision.
What stage of decision-making are you currently at? Have you made up your mind? Remember to take strategic actions and review the results.
SYAZUIN SAZALI is a Subject Matter Expert in soft skills. She aims to continuously advocate for progressive growth in education. Linkedin & Instagram: @syazuinsazali.