Decide Your Way To Management

Posted on November 5, 2011

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Becoming the Manager Part 2

How to make decisions and influence management

You hopefully read Part 1 this series about showing some initiative and how, if you do it right, you’ll start edging towards the management limelight.  Well the next key skill I think you need to have is the ability to effectively make decisions.  Sounds pretty simple right?  Guess what, it is!  However you need to do it in a particular way…I mean anyone can make decisions but only a few people can make good ones.  I’m not gonna go on about various models for decision making because unless you know them more intimately then the nooks and crannies of your other half, I find that they’re as useful as mammary glands on a male cow.  What I will give you is a few tips on what I’ve learnt and maybe they can help you in someway.  In classic Australian style, I’m gonna say, ‘give ’em a go anyway ya flamin galah’. (Ok maybe its just Alf from Home’n’Away that says that.)

This tip is an obvious one which I’m sure you do anyway but no one likes a person who makes decisions because they said the tarot cards told me so.  Management and the people around you want decisions made based on rational reasons and ones that matter most in the context of the situation.  These reasons need to dig deep to the core of the business problem and key stakeholder requirements and can’t simply be ‘because I was told to do it like this’.  People will question your decisions which you can anticipate and counter.  The key to overcoming these qualms is to ensure that you’ve shown consideration to them prior to you making the decision and that you either addressed them or you can defend that they weren’t as important as the points you used to come up with the resolution.  No doubt, if you’re a flawed human like little ol’ me then there’s going to be times when a better decision could have been made due to certain reasons not being considered and that’s ok.  Notch it up to experience, learn from it and move on.

The second tip is perhaps political in nature and I would say secondary in priority to the above.  To climb the ladder of corporate success we’re gonna have to do the proverbial butt kissing and toosh smooching to the right people which is usually your manager or their colleagues.  Now I’m not talking about lavishly apraising them upon how remarkable their every spoken word and breath is but at least appease their sense of reasoning in decision making. In other words, make decisions like your manager.  When the situation arises whereby you disagree with their decision making then I would recommend for you to make your point to them but not so much that you get yourself a reputation of being a debater.  Bringing up your opposing opinion in a discussion-like way will undoubtedly raise your knowledge and reasoning rating with your boss.

Consider the scale of the issue if the worse case scenario happened as a result of your decision.  Whilst there are times we need to make risky decisions we should have in these instances, contingencies or back up plans.  Asking this question also helps with determining how much time and effort we need to place into this decision or whether we need to bring in other people.

Also look at the impact of your decision especially who will bear the brunt of it.  This gives us direction if we’re slightly lost and ensures that the end decision we make has buy-in from key stakeholders.

What I’ve learnt in business is that a decision made is better than one that wasn’t.  It can be easy to over analyse a situation and be stuck in that mode and people generally regard indecisiveness as worse than making a sub-optimal decision.  Like any good skill in life, its something that you need to practice and learn from when you do stuff up.  So get out there, make those decisions and learn from the bad ones!

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Posted in: Leadership, Skills