Make Fewer Decisions

Decision making skills, just like muscles, get better as you use them more often. As a manager, think about how much you’ve learned by exercising these muscles, and how you’ve been able to move the team forward with your confident (or at least confident-sounding) decisions.

That makes sense, right? Now flip it around to look at it from the team’s side: the more decisions you make for your people, the fewer they make for themselves. For every decision you choose to make for the team or for someone, you’ve deprived the team or that person of an opportunity to exercise their decision muscles. Even bad decisions can be valuable, when the person learns from them.

By making decisions for them, you’re teaching them to become dependent on you and less self-reliant. This is true even if that person wants the decision to come from you – you can still decline to accept. An obvious example: “Should I stay in my position and earn another promotion, or try to move to another group where I might find my job more fulfilling but will earn less?”

Yes, there will be decisions that ultimately HAVE to be made by you, but many fewer than you think, such as significant organizational changes, [examples] I bet most of the decisions you current make are ones you don’t have to make but that you choose to make.

As a manager, it’s your decision to make as many, or as few, decisions as you want with the team. You can choose to encourage your people to get approval on everything new they try, on every discount, on every kind of new marketing message, of every change in seating arrangements…or you can choose to let them take responsibility for their own decisions. Decision-making as a whole will improve and they will truly appreciate it.

Are you (or your company’s processes) depriving your people of the opportunity to make decisions?

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