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A Guide to Effective Decision-Making in the Workplace

  • By Diana Kawarsky, MA, CCP
  • June 14, 2022

Decision Making

Decision-making skills are a key component of employment. Taking all available information and making a beneficial decision is the difference between being successful and being redundant. 

To help sharpen your decision-making skills, this article will look at how to develop and apply this essential soft skill to your profession. 

The Importance of Decision-Making in the Workplace  

Decision-making is often left to those in the highest leadership roles of a business, but that doesn’t mean lower-level employees don’t need to make important decisions too. Even the smallest decision by an employee can have a ripple effect throughout the company, proving workplace decision-making is a vital tool. 

Here are a few reasons why effective decision-making is vital in the workplace. 

Saves Time and Money

Effective decision-making can save a company both time and money. Consider how many minute decisions a company must make each day that will, ultimately, affect their bottom line.

For example, management must decide how to allocate resources within the business. Choosing to assign more staff to a specific project could help you meet client demands (save you time and energy), and it could also help you make more sales.

Another aspect of decision-making is managing the physical stock a company maintains. Too much can cost undue waste, while too little can drive potential customers away. 

Improves Team Performance

Part of running a successful business involves having the ability to formulate and execute ethical decision-making skills. While not everyone shares the same values, creating a team that can come together with the company’s goal is crucial. 

This success starts with leadership deciding how to organize and manage a team for top performance. Using decision-making skills, employees in managerial roles can form a team built on trust, loyalty, and good workmanship. 

Improves Employee Relationships and Satisfaction

Similarly, using the right decision-making skills as a leader can improve your relationship with your employees. It is your responsibility to listen and work with your employees to find a solution that benefits everyone. 

For example, if there is an issue between employees that calls for the employer to intervene, the opinions and needs of everyone must be considered. Deciding on a solution that suits all parties involved can improve relationships, employee satisfaction, and overall respect in the workplace.

Improves Time Management 

Decision-making skills can help improve time management, therefore increasing productivity. Every employee must use their time properly to complete tasks. 

Helping employees to understand their contribution helps to improve their time management and work ethic. Managers need to decide what allowances they will give for tardiness and sub-par work, as both could result in wasted time, not to mention a negative reputation for your business. 

Reduces Mistakes and Liabilities

Risks are part of business, but proper decision-making can help you avoid unnecessary risks. Consensus decision-making—decisions with other people in mind—can help reduce the chance of mistakes, thereby reducing the risk of liabilities. 

For instance, a warehouse manager may need to decide whether employees must use safety harnesses on scaffolding to properly stock store shelves. By considering the employee’s safety, a manager can reduce workplace liability and ensure their decision positively impacts everyone. 

The Steps in a Good Decision-Making Process

To come to a good decision, there are six steps that act as a guideline in any workplace situation. For a productive result that can benefit everyone involved, remember to take the time to evaluate before coming to a decision. 

Identify the Type of Decision

First, define the type of decision that needs to be made. This definition entails asking yourself if a decision is warranted. If the situation calls for decision-making skills, be sure to identify what form of decision is required. 

Collect Information

Next, collect all pertinent information before making a haste decision. Big or small, each decision requires some form of knowledge about the matter. Focus on gathering internal information through self-assessment and externally with the help of resources. 

Check Alternative Options

While gathering information, look for key components that offer solutions or alternative options. Good decision-making skills develop from direct experience or experience through others. 

Analyze Evidence 

When all options and information have been collected, begin analyzing the evidence. Use this opportunity to run through scenarios using the information to check off ineffective options. 

Take Action

This action is one of the most important aspects of the decision-making process. Too often, decisions are made but are not fully enforced, causing unreliability. Take action by implementing the decision. 

Review and Monitor Your Decision

Immediately begin to monitor the result of the decision. After sufficient time has passed since the decision was employed, begin the review process. The entire decision-making process may need to be repeated if the outcome is unsatisfactory. 

How Leaders and Managers Can Improve Their Decision-Making Skills

Learning is an everyday process, especially in the workspace. Leadership and managers can improve their decision-making skills by following several key strategies. 

  • Reconstruct the Situation: Take a deeper look at the problem by analyzing all angles. This will prevent the issue from becoming one-sided. 
  • Decide Based on Evidence: Follow evidence-based management by focusing on the scientific evidence and not your own opinions. 
  • Contest the Status Quo: Instead of maintaining familiarity, think outside the box. 
  • Get Advice: Challenge your view by collecting opinions and suggestions from others you trust. 
  • Be Cautious with Risks: Taking risks with a decision can be successful if all avenues of said risk are pre-examined. 
  • Decide Today: Don’t let past decision-making mistakes stop you from making a similar decision. 
  • Be Honest: Ensure the decision is objective and honest regarding the problem. 

How TSSG’s Soft Skill Workshops Can Help You

The Soft Skill Group offers virtual workshops to help professionals gain the tools and resources needed to make well-informed choices and decisions. See how our team-building techniques, management training, and communication development skills can help decision-making. Contact us to learn more!

Diana Kawarsky, MA, CCP

Diana is President of The Soft Skills Group Inc., and a senior training & development professional with over 20 years of experience in delivery, design & consulting with Fortune 500 companies, Universities & Colleges in Canada, USA, Europe, and Asia. Read More