The Middle Manager

Surviving & Thriving as a Leader

Decisions

I’m back after two weeks away on vacation, did anyone miss me? 🙂

One of the things a new manager struggles with is how to make a good decision. For that matter, some long-time managers still struggle with this subject. It can be particularly hard if the manager was formerly part of the team they are now managing.

canstockphoto14239045There are several ways to make decisions. Some managers take the ‘military’ approach – where they need to show they are in charge and so make no real effort to understand the context in favor of just acting – making the decision and standing by it regardless of the outcome. I’ve worked for a number of managers like this and it can be excruciatingly frustrating. There is occasionally a time and place for this approach, but it would usually involve an emergency or a situation where a decision needed to be made immediately – in which case you’d make the best decision you can based on what you know about the specific circumstances.

Just as bad is a manager who can’t or won’t make a decision. I recall working for a fairly high-level executive many years ago who simply avoided making decisions because he seemed paralyzed by the idea that he might make a poor one. So when the time came to decide he would disappear or find an excuse not to commit. The business was often paralyzed as a result.

The ability to make good decisions is important. Really, this is the primary reason we exist as managers. All of the other things we do may be important, but the reason we’re in a management role is to make decisions that commit our staff and resources to a specific course we’ve decided to persue. That’s a financial decision even if no hard currency is directly involved.

When time permits I believe a consultive approach is the best way to make decisions. Talk to the people who are closest to the issues or problems, subject matter experts, or others with specific knowledge. Listen and collate what they have to say and make your decision based on the best course of action you can see while taking their feedback into consideration.

Tell me what you think!

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