Why You Need Decision-Making Skills in Every Job

We make thousands of decisions every day. Most of them are relatively inconsequential, but razor-sharp decision-making could prove the difference between a super career and a nearly one.

A series of choices leads us to accept specific jobs, and a stream of decisions at work can make or break career paths. Every employee’s decisions play a vital role for companies that want to progress, be it which coffee to buy for the canteen to massive strategic shifts in marketing.

Businesses want successful decisions makers. Here’s how to develop your decision-making skills, use them, and show them off to potential employers.

Why Do I Need to Have Decision-Making Skills?

Developing and maintaining your decision-making skills impacts what you do at work and the jobs you are offered and eventually accept.

Good decision-makers can see, understand, and clearly explain the outcomes of actions and quickly analyze what will lead to the best result. They can communicate these eventualities rationally to team members and bosses, compare costs and effectiveness of ideas, and know which decision to make.

Businesses want decisions on everything from who to hire to which products to develop. You also need to know how to make decisions on what’s best for your career development and achieve your goals.

What Business Areas Require Decision Making Skills?

The hiring process can lead to a happy and effective new employee or a demotivated one just looking to pick up a salary. Others include:

  • Building teams and picking the best people for roles and responsibilities.
  • Fixing production problems.
  • Delegating tasks.
  • Dealing with disgruntled customers.
  • Organising holiday rotas, flexi-time and working conditions, including work-from-home policies.
  • Deciding which projects get the go-ahead.
  • Choosing strategies to help meet company goals.
  • Executing company policies.
  • Electing board members.

Here are some pointers as to how to improve your decision-making prowess.

Define the Problem, Challenge, or Opportunity

Identify the project’s primary goal; what you want to achieve will be your guiding light throughout your decision-making process.

Is it customer satisfaction? Are you looking for your dream job? Or are you putting together a dream team to boost sales? Write down precisely what you want to achieve.

Brainstorm and Get Input From Colleagues

Great decision-makers don’t rely solely on their intuition. Get input and insights from as many people as you require; everyone sees the world differently, and remember we all have limits and biases.

Brainstorm, alone or with others, always keeping the goal in focus. Think about the ultimate decision-maker, too. Will you decide alone, or will you have to persuade your boss or a team?

Check with your decision overseer that you are on the right path so you don’t get lost down blind alleys.

Pros and Cons, Cost-Benefit Analysis for Each Option

The mind sharpening begins here. Take each option and scenario and write a list of the pros and cons for them. More complex problems may require scoring metrics based on objectives and desires.

Building a team may involve looking at potential members’ qualifications and skills and how their personalities combine with other staff. Look for hidden costs: will the company suffer if you pull one person from their current projects?

Jobseekers should list and rank job priorities, for example, salary, location, holidays, or anything else that’s important.

Time to Make a Choice

The above steps will lead you to clear decisions in a perfect world.

However, we all know it’s not that easy. Perhaps the person you wanted to employ has gone elsewhere or wants more money than anyone else in the department.

Maybe you received the perfect job offer and salary but need to relocate. In contrast, the other offer you received means less money but staying in your hometown.

Look at the long-term solution and reassess your priorities and ranking. Consider different career or company growth categories, adding more to your pros and cons list.

Keep tweaking until one option becomes clear.

Put Your Decision Making Into Action

Short and sweet. Commit to your decision, and from here on in, everything must continue to move forwards. Do not dally or suffer lethargy; take the necessary steps and avoid looking back with a ‘what if?’ attitude.

Assess Your Decision and Make Modifications

Making a decision doesn’t bind you to it forever; belligerence doesn’t a good decision maker create. Things can backfire, and you can change course if needed — remember you are simply finding another way to the same destination.

Monitor the progress and impact of your decisions. Don’t be afraid to modify your path, be it through small steps or grander swerves.

What Skills Will I Need to be a Decision Maker?

Strong decision-makers require a range of talents.

Problem-solving: Understanding the variables and impacts of decisions through evaluation and finding solutions is key to decision making.

Sound judgement: Clarity of thought while identifying issues, outcomes, repercussions, and solutions improve decision-making skills.

Intuition: Trusting your gut instinct draws on real-life experiences and can be invaluable when making quick decisions.

Teamwork: Trust, respect and a sense of collaboration must permeate teams and client relationships for everyone to buy into decisions. Build relationships with the common goal always in sight, and work on smooth communication even during disagreements.

Emotional intelligence: Emotions, like intuition, can guide decision-making, but remember to be self-aware and rein in overly spontaneous actions. Tune in to your team’s feelings, too, judging their reactions, so you factor cold data and emotional resonance into your decisions.

Time management: Be on top of scheduling, project management, and deadlines. Efficient timekeeping helps the best decision-makers deal with issues and challenges. Track your progress with your deadline, so you hit your target. Remember, you can’t delay overly; like the Titanic’s late turn, the best decision in the world is worth nothing if it’s taken too late.

How to Improve Your Decision-Making Skills

Hopefully, you’ll soon be seeing the fruits of your excellent decision making. Assessing your skillset is vital to stay on top of your decision-making game.

There are decision-making courses well worth attending to see how others do it. Hire a career coach, or reflect honestly on past decisions. Ask yourself: What went well? What didn’t? What did you like or dislike about previous choices? Think about any unintended consequences of your last decisions.

Everyone should practice decision making, too, whatever level you work within a company. If you don’t have direct responsibility for any decisions, look around your workplace and consider improvements. Take suggestions to your superiors, and you’ll learn a lot about critical thinking, even if they disagree with you.

Ask trusted colleagues and mentors for their opinions, and ask their reasoning if it differs from yours. You can never have too many ideas.

Highlighting Your Decision-Making Skills on Your CV

Don’t just write ‘I’m an excellent decision maker’ on your CV because dynamic resumes show experience alongside accomplishments. Use bullet points to list the benefits of your decisions with facts and figures about your success.

Money saved, clients added, or time saved all look fantastic, especially if you personalise the CV you’ll send to prospective companies. Tell people how your actions brought tangible rewards, and remember to bring out the stories in interviews.

Hiring managers are decision-makers. They’ll recognise a fellow authority and be quick to snap you up before another company.