Good Decision Making Tools

We make decisions every day, in both our personal and professional lives. How do we know we are implementing good decision making processes? The realistic answer is that often times, we just have to believe that the decision we are making is the best one... based on the particular situation at hand.

However, there are often "grey areas" when it comes to good decision making because our decisions can be swayed by personal feelings as well as not wanting to look like the bad guy… especially when you are in a position of authority.

In the workforce as well as in your personal life, you may find yourself in a situation where you are responsible for resolving conflict…and the decision you make is critical.  Weigh the situation at hand and recall your problem solving skills. By doing this, you should be able to make an informed decision whenever necessary. Put personal feelings and worry aside

Identify the Decision to Be Made...

 The first step in good decision making is identifying the decision to be made. One example may be for a manager or supervisor in the workplace.  But these examples can easily be implemented into everyday life decision making as well.

As a manager, your boss may request that you make the decision on promoting one of your employees. You may not know where to begin initially. Simply identifying the decision to be made and what you must do about it -  is a great first step. So, for this example the decision that needs to be made is, "who gets the promotion?"

Understand Yourself - Your Role...

The next step is to understand just where you come in. If your boss requests that you make the final decision, then your role is to weigh the pros and cons of each employee under consideration. Then make a final decision based on the information you have without being biased toward any one individual.

Identify and Evaluate Options...

In the example of offering a promotion, there will most likely be a certain amount of candidates that you feel are right for the position. You have come to this conclusion based on your observation of past performance.  On the other hand, you may need to study each employee's file.

The next step is to evaluate your options. This can be done by observing your potential candidates on the job as well as meeting with each one for a personal interview.

Select the Best Options...

For this particular example, you as a manager have evaluated your options. Perhaps you have decided on one particular individual or you are torn between a few top candidates.

When torn between two or three choices, you might make your final decision based on employee seniority. If you feel your top picks are completely equal, enlist the help of your direct supervisor in order to get their input.

Develop a Plan of Action and Implement It...

After you have made your final decision, the next thing to do is develop a plan of action. In the manager/employee example, decide on how to advise the lucky employee of their promotion.   You will also want to decide how to let the other candidates know they did not get the promotion… this time.

The best way to implement such a decision is to be honest and up front…even if it makes you uncomfortable. Explain to the candidates that did not receive the promotion how you made your decision.   Further, let them know there is always a "next time." Everyone will likely be satisfied with your final decision.

Make Decisions Based on the Facts...

These examples detail how decision making can be implemented in a manager/employee situation.

These good decision making tools can also be used in everyday life…in everything from deciding what to make for dinner to settling an argument between friends.

Be sure to categorize the good decision making process and weigh the pros and cons based on realistic facts. You will be able to make informed and confident decisions with outcomes that are satisfactory for everyone involved.

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