Decision-making today may be more difficult than ever before. We have more options available to us and have access to endless amounts of information to consider.
Many of us struggle with being indecisive, where we tend to over-analyse every remotely relevant piece of information and think about all the possible outcomes or how things could go wrong.
This is more common for people who tend to naturally be more anxious, as they are more sensitive to threats in the environment. While being threat sensitive and wary has served evolutionary functions, such as being able to assess and avoid risks to one’s safety and wellbeing, it can also cause obstacles in the world of work. We are required to make many decisions every day, and being unable to do so will likely get in the way of progress.
Emotional Intelligence and Making Decisions
The skill of making decisions that are realistic, and that consider both subjective and objective impressions, is part of having high Emotional Intelligence. It involves managing emotional impulses to avoid making a hasty decision, assessing what objectively exists, and being willing and able to tackle a problem or decision head-on.
From Emotional Intelligence and Decision-Making research, we have come up with some tips to help you be more decisive:
1. Listen to your head and your heart
People sometimes think that to be a good decision-maker, we must ignore our emotions. However, I think this creates a problem where people are not aware of the impact those inner feelings are having on our objectivity. Try to consider both what your ‘gut feeling’ says, and also consider what are the objective facts.
2. Take Responsibility and Ownership
Remember, making no decision is still an action. If you are trying to avoid blame or responsibility by not making a wrong decision, being indecisive is not a way to avoid this. Be mindful that when you have a choice to make, and the outcomes will be based on what you do (whether that’s taking action or making no definitive decision).
3. Don’t be afraid
Have faith in yourself that you can make a good decision. You may need to do things that you are afraid of, to take a risk, or do something you have never done before, which can lead to fear. Realistically, we are making countless decisions every day, big and small, and for the majority of these, there is not going to be major consequences if you don’t make the right decision.
4. Don’t overthink the outcomes of your decisions
Often easier said than done for the most indecisive among us, but remind yourself that it is often impossible to fully calculate future outcomes. Things change and people are unpredictable, so trying to weigh up and control every outcome may be more effort than it’s worth.
5. Keep it simple
Where possible, try to keep things simple. Look at successful leaders such as Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs, who always wore the same outfits. Not only is this creating a personal brand for themselves, but it takes away unnecessary decision-making.
We only have a limited amount of energy and capacity for making decisions in a day. Try to pay attention to where you might be spending time on minor decisions, and mitigate these as much as you can.
Interested in getting more information?
If you would like to learn more about different decision-making styles, you may be interested in the Decision Style Profile.
Alternatively, if you would like to develop your decision-making in the context of managing emotions, the EQ-i can help this.
Get in touch if you would like to know more about these assessments or would like to become certified to use them with your clients.