Hesitant decision making
The most obvious concern as a new leader is that you will make to hasty of a decision. You may be concerned that you do not have all of the necessary information; you have not asked others’ opinion and you have not considered all of the downstream impacts of your choice.
Rather than too fast, most new leaders actually miss their potential because they do not decide quickly enough. By the time they make a decision, if they make one at all, opportunities have passed, constituents are frustrated, and confidence is eroded.
So why are some leaders so hesitant to make timely decisions?
- They overanalyze the situation. As a result, analysis paralysis takes over. The leader tries to examine the potential outcome from every angle. Choose and know a limited number of measures that are critical to your choice.
- They get too comfortable. Decision making typically means that things are not going to be the way they always have been. A number of leaders don’t like change because they are afraid to pulled from their comfort zones, so they erroneously rationalize that no decision will result in no change. We know that’s not likely.
- They lack confidence. He starts second-guessing himself even before he has made a decision. Once he makes a decision, he is in misery anticipating a negative outcome. If you recognize this–STOP and force yourself to take some action–NOW.
- They think it’s already too late. Leaders often lament that its too late anyway. Remember the saying, “Better late than never”. See also the previous blog–“What the hell effect”.
- They are in over their head. Leaders often fail to decide because they don’t have the ability to know which direction to go. To use the Jim Collins’ metaphor, they are in the wrong seat on the bus. Many of these leaders are fearful of admitting their inabilities and inadequacies because they are prideful and fearful. They end up hurting themselves and the organization. If you truly feel this way, its time to ask for help. Better late than never.
- They work for leaders who won’t let them make decisions. This is a totally different problem outside of the leader, but not uncontrollable by the leader.
Making decisions first requires an awareness of your decision style. Several tools, Kolbe and DiSC, are available to give you this information. From there, you need to create a plan for making timely decisions that includes triggers to recognize hesitation (or haste), triggers to force you to move forward even before you think its time.