Join Todd Dewett for an in-depth discussion in this video Explaining your decision-making style, part of New Manager Fundamentals.
There are many approaches to decision-making. I'm going to discuss the three most basic approaches. While you're listening, I want you to think about which one best defines you. Keep in mind, there is no perfect approach to decision-making; there are always different possible approaches. The three most basic forms of decision-making are: Autocratic, Collaborative, and Democratic. Autocratic decision-making is defined by you making a decision with no input needed from the team, followed by telling the team your decision.
Collaborative decision-making involves a partnership or a collaboration between you and the members of the team. You will ultimately make the decision, but first you wish to seek input from the team. Finally, democratic decision-making involves you allowing the team to make the decision irrespective of what you feel the decision should be. Of course, over time all of us use a mix of these approaches. However, research does suggest the best overall decision is to rely significantly on the collaborative approach with much lighter use of both the autocratic or the democratic approaches.
Before you first formally meet with the team, be prepared to discuss your approach to decision-making. You might even choose to use some of the specific labels we've been discussing. No matter which path you choose for a given decision, remember that all great decisions should be followed by great explanations. Explanations are your attempt to offer honest and specific clarification for the decisions you make. Over time, your team will not enjoy every decision you'll make.
Sometimes certain people will like your decision and others will not. In any case, your goal is to offer clarity as to why you did what you did. Even when someone doesn't like your decision, good explanations make the decision seem more just and acceptable. Explanations make your process transparent, which shows you to be honest and trustworthy. When you lack transparency and don't offer quality explanations, your team is left to dream up their own explanations for your behaviors.
I'd like to focus for just a moment on one specific aspect of decision-making; making decisions that you know others will not like. For example, you might have to tell someone that the team will not get the budget increase they expected, or that there will be no raises this year, or that someone did not receive the promotion they desired. Here your objective is to clearly own your decisions. Many times, due to the tension in the situation decision-makers will blame others instead of properly owning the decision.
They might say this decision came from above me or I'm sorry but management won't allow that right now, or some other way to take the blame off of themselves. Avoid blame; your goal is to always provide a clear and honest explanation. The more difficult it is to tell someone the decision you made, the more this is true. The good news is that when difficult feedback is given to a team member, if it is delivered with sincerity and if you own your decision, they will still respect you. Remember, great decision-making starts with understanding your style and making sure your team understands it too.
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- Clarifying performance expectations
- Feeding your learning curve
- Building rapport with your team
- Explaining your decision-making style
- Increasing your authenticity
- Communicating proactively
- Knowing when to have a meeting and who should attend
- Coping successfully with your transition<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.