Ten Key Decision Making Skills to be a Successful Leader

Harshith Bhupathiraju

September 6, 2021

Whether it is the leader of a Fortune 500 company or the leader of a cricket team, one of the critical requirements of their job is decision-making skills. Every moment of their professional career is spent making decisions. As a leader, the success of the followers depends on practical decision-making skills. So, how does one make good decisions? Is there a secret ingredient? Well, it is more like a recipe than a single secret ingredient. A leader needs to keep the following ten skills in mind while making a decision.

  • Manage Time Well
  • A leader is expected to make multiple decisions in quick succession. So, they need to manage their time well. Proper planning and utilization of time can prevent things from getting too overwhelming. The academic rigour of IIM MBA courses can help cultivate better time management skills.

  • Avoid Information Overload
  • It is one of the vital decision-making skills that is often ignored. It is easy to get lost in the sea of data and miss the forest for the trees. Before going looking for information, it is essential to set the objectives. It will help narrow down the search to information that is relevant to the decision.

  • Follow a Structured Approach
  • Having a structure simplifies the decision making process to a large degree. The speed and success of decisions become better when following a structured approach. It also makes it easy to track progress.

  • Identify Critical Ingredients
  • Go beyond the surface to identify the critical factors. Find the source of the issue and analyse it comprehensively. Finally, discover the correct data out of the clutter and draw insights from it.

  • Evaluate Options
  • Do not leave any stone unturned. Carefully evaluate all the possible alternatives before making a decision. But most importantly, the chosen options should be feasible and help achieve goals.

  • Prioritise Criteria
  • When making a decision, often multiple criteria need to be considered. As all are not equally essential, it is better to prioritize them based on qualitative and quantitative analysis.

  • Quantitative Analysis
  • It is self-evident but needs to be emphasized nonetheless. A leader needs to have the ability to analyze and gain insights from the information presented to him in his arsenal. Quantitative analysis is one of the few technical skills that are non-negotiable for a decision-maker.

  • Be Creative
  • Creativity is one of the key differences between successful and unsuccessful leaders. The willingness to look beyond the obvious when making decisions is a skill all great leaders possess. The creative approach is not just limited to the final choices but the entire process.

  • Communicate Effectively
  • Most decisions taken by a leader involve multiple stakeholders. As important as it is to make a good decision, it is equally essential to communicate it. Presenting and defending the choices made to different collaborators is an integral part of the job. If the ideas are not shared effectively, all the effort put into it goes down the drain.

  • Learn From Mistakes
  • Finally, always learn from previous mistakes. No leader is perfect, and everybody is prone to failure. Some decisions will inevitably have dire consequences. It is essential to track the results of the findings and analyse the reasons for failure. At the same time, it is not healthy to dwell on failures.

Conclusion

While these effective decision-making skills might seem intimidating and challenging to develop, they are easy for those willing to learn. The IIM MBA courses, with their case-based methodology, provide a crash course for most of these skills. Cultivating these skills early in the career will set the stage later for becoming a successful leader.

About the Author

Harshith Bhupathiraju is an MBA student at IIM Udaipur and is a member of the literary club. He is looking to break into the world of marketing. As a content writer, he has written dozens of articles on technology and software. He graduated in Mechanical Engineering from VIT, Vellore. He loves writing poems and maintains a poetry blog. On any given day, you can find him with a book in his hand. Connect with him on LinkedIn.