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How to Improve Decision-Making Skills in the Workplace

A worker can have dozens of decisions to make on an average day. Some of those decisions will be big, and others small. And the outcomes of some of these will be better than others. Whether you’re a senior manager or just starting your career, no one is immune to finding decision-making difficult.

But you can level up your decision-making skills. Keep reading to find out why and how.

Why you May Need to Improve Your Decision-Making Skills

Find out why decision making doesn’t come easy to some people.

You Find it Difficult

If making decisions is causing you to stress regularly, it may be time to up your decision-making game. Some people struggle to decide because of the impact it can have on others. A manager may need to decide who to promote, give a pay rise or even who to make redundant, which can be even more difficult for most. Making these decisions can cause stress and anxiety for the decision-maker.  

It’s Too Time Consuming

Agonising or delaying a decision doesn’t mean it will be easier or better. It may just mean you have spent too much time at the expense of other tasks. Fast and effective decision-making can help your productivity.

Your Self Confidence is Suffering

If you know you take long to make decisions, your self-confidence is most likely taking a toll. By improving your skills, you can give your self-confidence a boost.

How to Improve Decision Making Skills

Read the following tips on how to make your decision making faster and more informed.

Give Yourself a Deadline

More time isn’t always the way to go. Set a reasonable deadline for yourself to decide without extensions. Spending additional hours collecting data and analysing your research can be reassuring but by the time you make a final decision, it may be too late. It’s not called analysis paralysis for no reason.  

Don’t Overthink It

Many decisions require careful consideration but not all decisions can be carefully measured. You may not have enough information to make a precise decision and may have to rely somewhat on gut instinct. If that’s the case, making a quick decision based on your first thoughts can be a good alternative.  

Limit Your Choices

Sometimes the difficulty of making a decision is caused by too many alternatives. Facing a dozen possibilities can be harder than deciding between three or four. Quickly whittle down your list so you are only considering a few choices.

Be Assertive

Make a decision and stand by it. Try not second guessing the decision. Know the reasons behind your choosing and communicate them confidently. Others will respect your decision if you back it up with evidence.  

Practice Makes Perfect

Like most skills, decision-making can improve with practice. The more decisions you make, the easier it will become. Opt for speeding up your decision-making in all aspects of your life. If you’re going out, choose a venue within five minutes and decide what you will wear in under three minutes. The brain will soon start to learn how to make snappy decisions.

Write out the Pros and Cons

Developing a list can make it easier to visualise your choices and allow a comparison of the pros and cons. Seeing it on paper or displayed on a screen may make it clear, rather than trying to balance the choices in your head. If you are about to make an important decision, you may take it one step further and use a Decision Making Matrix tool.

Ask a Colleague for Help

Speak to a mentor or a colleague who makes fast, accurate decisions. Ask them to take you through the process they use. If you have a pending decision to make, ask them to work through it with you and demonstrate how they would resolve the situation.

Professional Help is Available

Everyone can struggle with decision-making, regardless of their role and the decisions they have to make. All workers must know that help is available if they’re struggling with any part of their role, including decision-making.

An employee assistance program (EAP) gives employees access to counsellors and psychologists that can assist with a number of topics, from stress management and career management to decision-making and more.

For more information about how an EAP can benefit an organisation's employees, contact us online or call 1800 258 487.  

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