Every have a day where every decision is yours?  Even when you have people who should be making them?  Well this week has been one of those weeks for me.  I have had several decisions to make, that people should

Decisionknow the answer or should be able to come up with the appropriate answer.  Heck, come up with n answer EVEN if it’s wrong!  Can we move the conference call?  Does this person need to be trained? Does this piece of equipment need a guard?  Can we start someone today and do orientation next week?

What the heck!!!  I am strategic thinker, I don’t have time for this non-sense!

Well, maybe you do.  I found myself getting frustrated,  then I realize they are looking to me for direction.  Maybe they don’t feel comfortable with their answer.  Maybe they don’t feel comfortable with my reaction to their answers.  People will answer questions and make decisions only if they feel confident in their answers or decisions.

Decision CartoonSo how do we as leaders ensure our people feel comfortable and confident to answer questions and make decisions?  Here are 5 ways to accomplish this.

  1. Make Sure Everyone Understands the Expectations – Your employees must know the parameters for making decisions.  A leader’s expectations are critical to great performance.  You must be willing to outline the expectations and let your people make decisions and answer questions.  Always leave the door open for them to come ask if they don’t feel comfortable.
  2. Knowledge – Do they have the knowledge to make the decision or answer the question?  I have often found myself asking questions to a boss that is met with a “are you serious” stare.  Well yes I am, I wouldn’t ask if I knew the answer.  Employees need to have the knowledge to answer the questions, if they don’t, make sure they feel comfortable coming to you for direction.
  3. Less is More – There is all kind of research and data and this.  My take? Provide less “fat” in the details and let people make decisions.  encourage your employees to make decisions based on their knowledge and expertise.  If they are knowledgable or the expert, then encourage them to go to the correct resource.
  4. Use Your Gut – Your “gut feeling”, we all have it.  FOLLOW IT!!!  Our “gut feeling”
    is known as intuition.  Intuition is the feeling you get from the information you have.  People ar intuitive in their areas of strength and knowledge.  If the decision is based within, use your intuition to derived at the answer.
  5. READY, FIRE, AIM – My absolute favorite.  Encourage employees to make decisions based on this concept.  Professionals often times get caught up in ensuring the project, decision, etc is perforce and then never follow through or complete it.  READY, FIRE, AIM simply means that if your prepare appropriately and FIRE! Then we can easily make course corrections later to perfect it.

In the end, decisions are not always easy.  Heck, I re-wrote this ending five times!  But decisions are necessary.  Encourage your employees to make decisions on their own.  If the decision isn’t right, be supportive and encouraging in your coaching!!

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