What Should Leaders Do before Making Decision?

December 21, 202011:19 am2631 views
What Should Leaders Do before Making Decision?
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Decision making is one of toughest parts in a leader’s life, simply because that decision will either make or break an organisation. During uncertain times, leaders are often torn when making a decision because it should not only save the company but also employees. A crisis involves many unknowns and surprises that might not become clear within the necessary decision-making time frame. Meanwhile, leaders should not resort to decisions based on intuition alone. Leaders will be able to cope with uncertainty better by collecting information as the crisis unfolds and observing how well people respond to it. 

In practice, leaders can pause from crisis management, assessing the situation from multiple vantage points, anticipating what might happen, and acting based on the data. The pause-assess-anticipate-act cycle should be ongoing, as it helps leaders maintain a state of deliberate calm and avoid overreacting to new information as it comes in. While some moments during the crisis will call for immediate action, leaders will eventually find occasions to stop, reflect, and think ahead before making further moves.  

See also: How to Help Employees Who Hate Making Benefit Decisions

Once leaders decide what to do, they must act with resolve. Visible decisiveness not only builds the organisation’s confidence in leaders. It also motivates teams to sustain its search for solutions to the challenges that the organisation faces.

Deal with human tragedy as a first priority  

Experts believed that it is vital for leaders to not only demonstrate empathy but open themselves to empathy from others and remain attentive to their own well-being. As stress, fatigue, and uncertainty build up during a crisis, leaders might find that their abilities to process information, to remain levelheaded, and to exercise good judgment diminish. They will stand a better chance of countering functional declines if they encourage colleagues to express concern and heed the warnings they are given. Investing time in a leader’s own wellbeing will enable leaders to sustain their effectiveness over the weeks and months that a crisis can entail.

Communicate with transparency  

As Amy Edmondson wrote, “Transparency is ‘job one’ for leaders in a crisis. Be clear what you know, what you do not know, and what you are doing to learn more.” Thoughtful, frequent communication shows that leaders are following the situation and adjusting their responses as they learn more. This helps them reassure stakeholders that they are confronting the crisis. Leaders should take special care to see that each audience’s concerns, questions, and interests are addressed. Having members of the crisis response team speak firsthand about what they are doing can be particularly effective. 

Likewise, communications should not stop when the crisis has passed. Offering an optimistic, realistic outlook can have a powerful effect on employees and other stakeholders, inspiring them to support the company’s recovery. 

Here is how to communicate effectively:  
  1. Take a breath – pause and take a breath. Giving yourself a moment to step back, take stock, anticipate, and prioritise might seem counterintuitive, but it is essential. 
  2. Involve more people – Amid uncertainty generated by a crisis, leaders often feel an urge to limit authority to those at the top, with a small team making the big decisions while huddled behind closed doors. They should reject the hierarchical model that they might be more comfortable with in normal times and instead involve many more stakeholders and encourage different views and debate. This approach can lead to smarter decisions without sacrificing speed. 
  3. Make critical small choices – Some small choices that leaders make in the short run could loom very large over the long term as the crisis unfolds. They can be hard to spot, but leaders must look for them.
  4. Set up a nerve centre – In stressful times, leaders will have to make more big-bet decisions than before and also will be worried about their people. When making a high-stakes decision, it’s important to be able to focus attention on the issue at hand. That means minimising distractions. If a leader is too frenzied, they are likely to make errors in judgment. Creating a nerve center can help leaders focus on the strategic decisions rather than the tactical ones. 
  5. Empower leaders with judgment and character – During business as usual, some people who get ahead are of a certain type. They say the right things, do not ruffle feathers, know how to navigate the system, and manage messages so that people hear what they want to hear. Many of these usual suspects, who typically are tapped to lead special initiatives, are ill suited to lead in a landscape crisis of uncertainty. 
  6. Go big or go home – Unprecedented crisis demands unprecedented actions. Lessons from past crises suggest that leaders are more likely to underreact. What is necessary is to take the bold and rapid actions that would feel too risky in normal times.

Read also: Can You Trust Your “Gut Feeling” When It Comes to Making Hiring Decisions?

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