Making the Right Decision
Kids don’t have to worry about decision making tips for new managers. They have it easy. They only need to use “eenie, meenie, miny, mo” to help them choose. But in the business world and especially for new managers who care so much about steering their team in the right direction, decisions are far more difficult to make.
Decisions for new leaders can be complex, involve multiple stakeholders, have far-reaching implications, and seldom can you predict which of several options will be the best in the end.
5 Decision Making Tips for New Managers
Here are some decision making tips for new managers that can help once you know you have a decision to make:
1. Agree Upon the Levels of Importance, Urgency and Risk
Before gathering information and allocating resources, the most effective leaders agree upon the levels of importance, urgency and risk. They understand the impact of the decision upon their key stakeholders; they know how high a priority it is in the grand scheme of things; they identify the key risks; and they define the required time parameters.
2. Define Your Decision Making Criteria
Once the big picture is clear, it is time to identify and prioritize all of the different factors you and your team must take into account. Your decision making criteria should be measurable and relevant to your strategy, culture, team and the scope of the problem you are trying to solve. Typical decision making criteria include factors such as ability to implement, financial, scalability, time, quality, flexibility, risk, culture and people implications, customer impact, competition, and change readiness.
3. Gather Relevant Information
Once your decision making criteria is clear, it the responsibility of new managers to ensure that the information required to make an informed, timely and effective decision is gathered. Use whatever means you have at your disposal—knowledgeable colleagues, relevant reports, past experience, and future trends. Understand that you are unlikely to be able to pull together all the data that would highlight a single path to take.
Focus on narrowing the choices by eliminating some that are clearly wrong and make informed strategic, cultural and people assumptions to overcome the common barrier of unclear information. Then document the most important information you are missing so you know where you stand.
4. Identify Viable Alternatives and Consequences
Help your team to identify at least three or four realistic alternatives. For each alternative identify the pros, the cons, the uncertainties and the potential consequences. Generating alternatives may sound like it will slow you down, but expanding your choices forces your team to innovate and look at the problem from different perspectives. These decision making tips for new managers ease the pain and difficulty of choosing the best path.
5. Be Decisive
Once you’ve evaluated the viable options, the next step is to make your decision. Yes, take some time to consider all options. But then don’t postpone your decision too long. Remember, there is rarely a “perfect” answer for complex decisions.
You need to make the best decisions with the information available and begin to move in the chosen direction. Just make sure you have a process in place to track progress and adjust as needed.
The Bottom Line
As a new manager, you have a lot invested in you and your team making the best decisions. You want your team to trust your leadership from the get-go. You can certainly ask for and consider their input. In the end, however, the decision is up to you. Follow the field-tested decision making tips for new managers.
To learn more about how to create the environment for good decision making, download 29 Ways to Build and Maintain Trust as a Leader
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