by Anthony Middlebrooks, Scott J. Allen, Mindy S. McNutt and James L. Morrison
Leaders make decisions—decisions about what to do, how to do it, when, why, with whom, for how long, assuming what, and resulting in what end. Effective leaders make mindful and purposeful decisions as they design different aspects of leadership.
Many can see the problems facing an organization, but very few are skilled at helping the organization make and execute the decisions to address and move past problems. Deciding means cutting off options and making a choice that determines a course of action.
Decision making can address problems that are technical or adaptive, involve processes that are individual or as a group/team, and can be made intuitively or rationally. All of these conditions require careful consideration of the situation, context, and persons.
Decision making can be greatly enhanced by determining your style and by learning a model of decision making like SOLVE: Set roles, Outline problem and criteria, List multiple strategies, Veer toward consensus, and Evaluate the decision and process. Recognizing and eliminating barriers like cognitive biases and ineffective personal habits can also enhance your decision making.
Decision making is critical to designing relationships. Much of the decision-making work on teams and within organizations impacts and is influenced by how you relate to others and build relationships (e.g., consensus, coalition building).
Leaders balance two competing priorities—tasks and relationships. As you gain experience and wisdom in this work, you will become more and more valuable to any organization. Organizations need men and women who do both well.