For those with management or leadership roles, there may be times when tough decisions have to be made. You may encounter situations where you have to decide on which team member to promote or what perhaps what to do with company funds. These kinds of scenarios require critical thinking and your undivided attention, as they could spell the difference between success or failure.
During busier months, you’ll also have two big responsibilities to keep up with. The first to make sure that your team is prepared for and able to fulfil increasing work demands. The second is to manage your team’s mental health so that they don’t burn out from the influx of tasks.
Simply put, you need to possess good judgment to be a great leader. Fortunately, this is a skill that you can develop from experience as well as through leadership coaching. To master the art of making the right decisions, you need to understand the impact that a seemingly simple choice can have on your whole team.
Understand That Some Decisions Have Long-Term Consequences
Some examples of major work-related decisions include taking on more work, introducing new software, and letting someone go, to name a few. Before you make your calls, you need to stop and ask yourself how these judgments will end up affecting your team.
For instance, if you greenlight a new project while your department is currently wrapped up in other endeavours, it can cause a slew of problems for everyone involved. Deadlines might get pushed back, people could become overworked, and overall productivity will likely decrease.
Hence, think long and hard about before making any big decisions. This will allow you to account for how your team will be affected and what you can do about said effects. Even if the results may ultimately be beneficial, you still need to prepare yourself and the rest of your team for what’s to come. By knowing what to expect, you’ll give your employees ample time to properly adjust for the lasting effects of the choices you’ve made.
Defaulting to Consensus Is Not Always Better
Though there are some calls that you have to make on your own, some should be made by you and your entire team together. After all, certain kinds of problems require input from those who may have more expertise in the subject.
However, just because more people are involved in the process doesn’t always result in the most optimal solution. When team leaders leave the final verdict up to several people, there’s a chance that everyone will go with what is easiest but not necessarily the most effective nor efficient. And in situations where a majority of the group already appear to agree with a certain choice, those with differing opinions or concerns may end up not saying anything in opposition. As such, even if it might seem like everyone is on the same page, this might be far from true.
As the leader, you need to mediate between your team members to ensure that the decision-making process is as thorough as possible. Encourage people to ask questions, propose alternatives, and state opposing viewpoints before coming to an agreement. Having these ideas on the table gives everyone a clearer idea of the consequences of each option and how it might affect the team in the long run. The more meticulous the process of reaching a team verdict is, the more creative and effective the solution will be.
Consider Why Your Team Members Might Object to the Decision
If you are having a hard time seeing how your decision will affect your team, try putting yourself in your team members’ shoes for a bit. Think about how they might react in opposition to each of the choices that you are weighing. It’s not good to simply dismiss your staff’s input as pessimism because they may have a point. That being said, ask yourself if their response is justified and if you can do something to address it.
Alternatively, your team might not agree with you due to a lack of skills or resources. For example, if you’re thinking of hiring new employees, your team may object if they’re so busy with deliverables that they don’t have enough time to train new recruits. Similarly, they may not so welcoming of any outcomes that won’t negatively affect you but will make their productivity and job satisfaction suffer as a result. So always try to run any major decision by your team members whenever possible. This will allow you to hear them out and understand why they may be resistant to certain options.
Knowing how your actions can affect your team is one way of becoming a more considerate and respectable leader. Even if cases where you may not have as much freedom of choice, it’s still a good idea to prepare yourself for objections and manage your team member’s responses productively. You may also want to consider consulting with a professional development coach to help you work on your decision-making skills. Above all, always prioritise open communication and collaboration with your employees so that you always know the possible consequences of any decision.
Do you doubt your decisions sometimes? Remember your choices impact members of your team and if you need help in making wise decisions, get in touch with Justin Maree Cox today.