How You Make Decisions Can Affect Your Leadership Success

How you make decisions could affect your success as a leader. New research by Julia Tang Peters, for her book Pivot Points, shows that one “key differentiator between the career arc of someone who becomes a successful business leader and the average person is consistency in how the person makes major decisions.”

Harvard Business Review recently published an article outlining the research. In-depth interviews and surveys of over 500 highly successful individuals across a variety of industries and professional careers asked detailed questions about participants’ decision-making process.

Responses showed that three elements were present in a significant majority of the respondents’ decision-making processes:

  • They invested time and effort to explore multiple perspectives, needs, and ideas through a proactive dialogue with experts and stakeholders.
  • They weighed a variety of options.
  • They explained the decision fully to all stakeholders to reduce the stress of change among those affected.

Two things stand out in these three decision-making steps. One is the exploration of multiple perspectives and solutions. Often, people make decisions by considering only two or three options, neglecting to search for additional solutions they may not have thought of. When we consider only the options that come immediately to mind, we may be missing the best solution.

Secondly, successful decision-makers don’t insulate themselves. They know that others have valuable perspectives and ideas that they may not have previously considered, and they seek out expert opinion and insight from those affected and involved. They also take care to explain the decision once it’s made. When people understand why a decision was made, they are much more likely to support the decision, making the team more cohesive.

As we seek to become better leaders and build more productive teams, we need to remember to talk to others, solicit ideas, explore a variety of perspectives, and brainstorm with other people to see if there are additional options we haven’t yet considered. As we make better, more informed decisions and get others on board with those decisions, our leadership will improve.

Published on May 13th, 2015 in Blog

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