Power Up Your Leadership Effectiveness With Skilled Decision Making

by  JoAnn Corley  |  Leadership Development

I’ve traveled throughout the country over the past years conducting workshops on time management and getting results–and boy do I get an ear full.

One of the most popular points of discussion about productivity is about the role the manager plays.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard about a manager’s indecisiveness or trouble getting critical items finished because he or she procrastinates.

One thing is for sure – a leader’s decision-making impacts credibility. So, take a moment now to think about your decision-making. Why take a moment?  Decision-making is so natural, so automatic many of us aren’t aware of our decision-making style let alone how skilled we may or may not be.

I believe that decision-making is not only a skill but is also key in leadership and management competency.

Master The 4 Key Decision Making Styles

Leading and managing entails a lot of decision-making in a variety of situations and most of us default to our natural decision-making style most of the time, no matter the situation. Did you know there are natural decision-making styles or preferences? Also, did you know that your personality type plays a significant role in that style?

The leadership and management challenge, however, is that the same style is not best or optimal for every situation.

These are the four most common styles. Take a moment to determine which is your most natural:

  • spontaneous – may be best described as “shooting from the hip” – reactive and emotion based
  • decisive – firm and unwavering (sometimes to a fault – can be seen as inflexible)
  • methodical – decisions are made by gathering information and accessing the information step-by-step
  • inclusive – the need to include all interested parties in the decision making process as much as possible

Note: each of these has an extreme that can undermine the effectiveness of it’s use depending on the situation.

Where do you fit the most? Certainly it’s not all one all the time – but most of us have a typical style with which we are most comfortable.

To power up your effectiveness, you need to develop an awareness of your natural default style (you cannot change what you cannot see) and then make a conscious effort to train yourself to use the others where appropriate.

Additionally, learn the natural style of each of your team members. With that knowledge,  you’ll be amazed at how that will help you and your team enhance the collaborative experience by reducing friction and creating more synergistic results.

How will you enhance your decision-makings skills and how will you coach your team to improve theirs as well? For myself, when I first learned this information, I challenged myself to make decisions faster in certain situations rather than spending too much time analyzing. That was even a time saving strategy! What decision-making change will it be for you?

About The Author

Articles By joann-corley
I am a passionate champion of human potential with a focus on leadership and organizational success. I believe we will create our best leaders and businesses from the best of our human selves and therefore, help companies put the human back in human resource through holistic talent management. I also believe we’ve entered the age of the connected, relational leader. It’s a view I developed conducting management/leadership development seminars throughout North America for thousands the past 17 years. Those seminars additionally resulted in authoring several books including themes on talent management, creative thinking and productivity/ time management. One of my favorite quotes — “Asking is the beginning of receiving. Make sure you don’t go to the ocean with a teaspoon.” – Jim Rohn

What People Are Saying

David Hollingshead  |  03 Aug 2012  |  Reply

JoAnn, great post. It is a good practice to occasionally pause and take a look at the everyday process we use to lead. It can become very easy to get stuck in our routines, and processes, without looking to see where we can improve. Decision making is a fundemental part of leadership, and thus we assume that once we establish a decision making process we are done with the topic. Great advice about learning the decision making style of team members. Understanding how each one processes information will certainly boost teamwork and synergy!


JoAnn Corley  |  03 Aug 2012  |  Reply

Thanks for the comments David. Decision-making I believe is taken for-granted and yet it’s fundamental to any outcome…so simple and yet so sweeping in impact!

Alan Allard  |  03 Aug 2012  |  Reply

Great insights and practical information JoAnn. One of the qualities of an effective leader is self-awareness and we certainly need to be aware of our decision making process.

As for personality types, some process information on the spot very quickly and are able and willing to speak up immediately in a team meeting or one on one. Others need time to think things through before they feel comfortable in stating what they are thinking and which way they are leaning in a decision. Both styles are equally valuable.

JoAnn Corley  |  03 Aug 2012  |  Reply

Alan – I appreciate you sharing how this plays out in meetings. Sometimes those who don’t speak up right away are judged. All styles are valuable – need & context are the key!

Tim Milburn  |  03 Aug 2012  |  Reply

JoAnn. My favorite line was “Additionally, learn the natural style of each of your team members.” That’s probably why it was bolded.

Time and again, I have seen where people would agree with the decision I made, but they didn’t feel comfortable with HOW I made the decision. It was a matter of style and I didn’t understand why they didn’t understand.

This is extremely helpful. It would be useful to information for each member of the team to know the tendency of others. We should list our tendency right alongside our top five strengths, our personality profile, and our favorite flavor of ice cream (that’s just for fun).

Thank you for sharing this with us!

JoAnn Corley  |  03 Aug 2012  |  Reply

Hey Tim – you make an excellent comment – the how does impact buy in …. if you’re spontaneous and there is a methodical, they are propably thinking, “Well this is an accident waiting to happen.”
This information is part of a fun personality – team building workshop that I do …the “ah ahs” are amazing. Thanks for your comments!

tianchongni  |  03 Aug 2012  |  Reply

This information is part of a fun personality – team building workshop that I do …the “ah ahs” are amazing. Thanks for your comments!

Kent Julian  |  06 Aug 2012  |  Reply

Strong decision-making skills are foundational for effective leadership. I especially appreciate your encouragement to learn the decision-making styles of our team. So important!

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