How Managers Can Make Better Decisions

How Managers Can Make Better Decisions
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Managers Can Make Better Decisions
One of the most important, and yet one of the most challenging skills for new managers, is the ability to make effective decisions.  New managers, especially, often struggle with making decisions because their decisions now affect other people, are more visible and are often more complex.  The good news is that managers can make better decisions.

Which Is the Right Way?
Often the “right way” is not at all clear.  Decision making can be fraught with obstacles.  Yet, managers can make better decisions if they learn to avoid the following five decision-making traps:

1. Short- versus Long-term
New managers report being so anxious to appear decisive that they often chose a course of action without properly weighing the potential long-term consequences. While a quick decision may feel good initially, it can have significantly negative ramifications in the future. Good decision makers carefully consider both the present and the future before determining the best path forward.

2. Predisposition
Having an unacknowledged preference, or confirmation bias, can lead you astray. Many new managers are apt to interpret information in a way that supports their current beliefs rather than analyzing things objectively.  Managers who are good decision makers solicit input from a variety of perspectives, are open to different options, and consider multiple aspects.

3. Arrogance
Even new managers can occasionally be guilty of over confidence. They remember only the good decisions they made and tend forget the bad. Those caught in this trap need to seek input from others – especially those who have different opinions and perspectives. To make better decisions, new managers need to check their egos at the door and be open to diverse thoughts and points of view.

4. Over Reliance on a Single Factor
Placing too much importance on one piece of information, a decision making anchor, can send managers off in the wrong direction. Let’s say you are to select a team member to lead a major project.  You might be tempted to choose the person who led the last project successfully.  But there should be many other factors considered before you make the decision.

  • What is the nature of the project?
  • What competencies will be needed to achieve the project objectives?
  • Who has the time and the commitment?

The key is to look at the whole picture.

5. Following the “Tried and True” Path
Solving problems well requires a broad viewpoint. Doing something just because that’s the way it’s always been done does not always pay dividends.  Norms are meant to be challenged; alternatives meant to be offered; opinions and new ideas freely put forth.  Don’t be afraid of including your team in brain storming sessions. Who knows what creative solutions might be shared?

The Bottom Line
If you want to succeed at management, you need to hone your decision making skills.  Broaden your thinking, slow down, and avoid traps that negatively narrow your choices.

To learn more about how managers can make better decisions, download 3 Steps to Set Your Team Up to Make Better Decisions

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