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Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Strong Decision-Makers Strike a Balance Between Asking and Telling

Strong leaders make tough and effective decisions, promptly. For others, the fear and risk of making the wrong decisions may slow their ability to decide. Meanwhile, indecision may chip at their confidence to offer direction, often when direction is needed most.

Soliciting feedback from colleagues and advisors—or employees who may be significantly impacted by a decision—can be a good and strong practice. However, the practice of soliciting too many perspectives before making a decision, can stall progress and sabotage successful outcomes.

Here are a few key points that may help move decision-making along, and strike the crucial balance between asking and telling:

– Note the areas, relating to your decision, where you’re confident in your direction. If you can isolate the area(s) of indecision, you’re less likely to be crowding your thinking or decision-making process with needless information.

– Ask yourself the following questions. If you answer yes to all of them, chances are you’ve done your due diligence, and it’s time to step up and make your decision.

o Have you carefully reviewed the related data and/or feedback that you’ve already solicited?
o Will the decision you’re leaning towards generate a strong business impact if successful? If so, are you prepared to explain the value?
o Are you prepared to manage the outcome if it’s less than successful?
o Are you prepared to build in target dates for evaluating interim outcomes in the event there may be a need for a shift in direction?

The balance between soliciting the opinions or perspectives of others, and arriving at a decision based on your business experience, confidence, and leadership is crucial to you, your organization, and the people you lead.

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