What is your decision-making style?

Decision making
By Eleanor O'Neill, CA Today

26 August 2016

Effective and efficient decision-making is at the core of success for leaders, entrepreneurs and influencers.

We make hundreds of decisions a day, often without considering the process involved. The thinking behind simple choices may be complex and affected by many different factors like personality, values and societal expectations.

Most people will use more than one type of decision-making process by combining methods for an individual style that best suits their situation and personality. Our guide will help you to identify your style, with suggestions on how you can improve your individual process.

Which of the following statements applies to your decision-making style? 

1. Listening to others

If you ask for the input and opinions of others before making a decision, you value the 'collective reasoning' style. Every decision is a democracy and you don't like having to make the final call yourself.

This kind of style is of great benefit when working in a team. You are open to hearing everyone's point of view and it's in your nature to make sure everyone is happy before moving forward.

However, there is a danger of becoming dependent on others to make decisions for you. Try taking the lead every once in a while and be confident in your choices. This will help you feel more comfortable when you move up the ladder.

2. Doing your research

If your highest-priority is to find out everything you possibly can before making a decision, then you are 'data-driven'; you need time to organise and consider all the factors involved.

Knowing all the facts and figures makes it a lot easier to predict the outcome of a choice. You likely have a reputation as a conscientious and reliable overseer.

Time is money, though, and opportunities may often pass you by while you deliberate. Learn to focus on the big picture and worry a little less about the minutiae. Trust that you are making the best decision with the information you have.

3. Trusting your instincts

If making snap judgements is more your style, then you are working on a 'gut reaction' method. You hold true to your instincts and go with the decision that feels right from the off.

Following your intuition shows that you have confidence in yourself. You are the first port of call when an issue needs resolved quickly.

This style can cause issues if a decision has a negative outcome, as your reasoning may be difficult to explain. Don't be afraid to slow down for the big questions and find something to back up your initial thoughts, whether from colleagues or research.

4. Weighing the options

If your first point of call is to methodically go through the pros and cons of a decision, you use a 'list approach'. You like to know exactly what is at stake and the advantages of every possible outcome.

Creating a list is a great way to sort out the priorities of a decision and cover all your bases. The visual representation of the decision-making process can lend clarity to a choice.

However, as with the data-driven style, this can be a time-consuming pursuit. Pros and cons are also inherently subjective to the creator. Try asking others to weigh in their opinions as fresh eyes may notice a game-changer you missed.

5. Taking a chance

If you frequently make calls based on a curiosity to see what will happen, then you have a 'story living' style. For you, any decision is a good decision if the end results are interesting.

This style is very opportunistic in nature and can take you to a lot of great places, both professionally and otherwise. You aren't afraid to say 'yes' and are likely a natural leader.

The downside of such spontaneity is obvious. A wrong decision made on a whim can have far-reaching fallout. Take a step back every once in a while and consider if a good story is worth the consequences.

What is your decision-making style? Tell us in the comments below.


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