Idaho Leadership Lab
How is decision-making developed in leaders? The challenge is understanding where to start in helping to develop decision-making. It is something that I get asked for the most in working with executives to develop high-potential leaders.
When considering an approach to developing decision-making in leaders, it can be hard to identify a starting point. What is the foundation of decision-making? How can it be dissected to show leaders the correct approach to decision-making? Is it philosophy, maybe utilitarianism? Another hot topic or go-to for coaches is going through some hierarchy of needs. The easy out is to talk more about culture and values, but this approach only offers a one-sided framework for decision-making. The reality is everyone makes decisions differently.
For leaders, it is not just about how they make decisions but how the situation impacts the leader’s decision-making. The art of great decision-making is where developing executives can differentiate from their peers in career advancement potential. All leaders are hired on some “sleep at night” factor and the trust that comes with it. Excellent decision-making is what establishes this credibility for leaders.
Most of us do not even realize how deep-rooted we are in how we make decisions. Our process for decision-making is developed from day 1 of life, and this is the challenge for any leader looking to develop decision making. We all start to build our decision-making process at a young age. The foundation of decision-making for almost all people is centered around safety and security. Breaking down decision-making requires developing a new level of self-awareness. It is the first place all leaders should begin shaping their decision-making by getting to know themselves even better.
Like a whistle that stops play in a game, self-awareness should do the same for leaders and decision-making—allowing for a strategy to take over. The “take over” strategy replaces the natural early developed process of a reaction. These reactions are often done without thought and usually do not support consistency leading to improved results. For some, it is as simple as never deciding at the moment. However, things are ever-changing, and time is not always the convenience leaders are afforded. The potential for poor decision-making is why it is so critical that leaders understand how they make decisions as individuals first.
Let me walk you through an example. What I know about my personality is that I like to go after solutions, which also means I’m quick to choose a direction. I work well at going after results and developing the tasks to support them. For you 4Dx fans, I can quickly identify some lead activities that will impact my lag result. I’m also able to handle a crisis effectively. It is essential to call out that strengths also have potential pitfalls that come with them. These pitfalls occur because of the blind spots in our decision-making process. These are the areas that require development and self-awareness.
Like uncle Ben shared in Spider-Man, “with great strength comes great responsibility.” Instead of looking at blind spots as opportunities or weaknesses, I see them as a place of “responsibility.” I know that I can get focused on the result and move so quickly that I do not share all the details. I also know that I can be more concentrated on pragmatism than the emotional needs of others. Leaders need to be aware that it is not just bad decision-making that is the result. Poor decision-making often creates a downward spiral.
Bad decision-making is what diminishes all organizations. Leaders are not simply guilty of bad decision-making. Instead, leaders are creating poor direction and likely impacting costs to the business negatively. Poor decision-making will certainly affect employee morale, productivity, and retention.
When self-awareness is developed and can replace our initial reactions, a plan of action or supporting strategy can be created. Developing or aspiring executives can work to focus on the responsibility of decision-making and all the impacts. For someone like myself, it is essential to ponder on a decision before sharing and consider if it is sustainable long-term. Each week when meeting with my coach, we can review decisions and how I intentionally worked through them, who I included, and how I determined it was sustainable. Review the impacts afterward to determine how the improved process leads to positive impacts.
Meyers-Briggs is a great way to start taking a more robust look at yourself. It helps to give you insight into what makes you, you. By developing a clearer sense of self-awareness and awareness of others, you’re able to better frame decisions, reduce miscommunication, and understand personal needs more effectively. MBTI can help validate some traditional ways you approach decision-making and some improvement strategies.
What else can MBTI do:
- Measure your personality preferences in the MBTI framework
- Provide career insight into what jobs you’ll find interesting
- Help you understand behavior and personality preferences
- Give you insight into communication habits
- Help you better understand other people
- and so, so much more…
MBTI is something that can be done 1:1 as personal development or in a team-building workshop. Interest in learning more? Send me a private message or email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org