Decision-making involves the use of cognitive processes in choosing from several ideas, choices, and options, and then acting on it. It is a series of steps that starts with an understanding of the situation, gathering information, coming up with choices and alternatives, selecting from these choices and alternatives, and ending with an action. Decisions often revolve around issues such as uncertainties, high risks, alternatives, complexities, as well as interpersonal issues.
Importance of Decision-Making Skill
Decision-making is considered to be a core skill because in essence, it is a necessary ingredient for success. No matter what job title you have and what industry you belong to, there will always be instances in your life (career and personal) wherein you will have to make decisions. Critical events that happen in various phases of our life can be quite intricate, confusing, and difficult; being able to come up with a well-structured approach will be helpful in making an effective decision.
In management, decision-making is viewed as a very important skill. There are always problems to be solved and a constant barrage of issues. A good leader must be a good decision-maker, one who can make smart choices even when faced with a lot of pressure. In the workplace, good decisions can lead to success, whether big or small; on the other hand, poor decisions can result to failure, and even one person’s failure can affect the team’s performance.
On a personal level, making decisions is also important especially in choosing careers. A person who just recently graduated would often find it difficult to choose between one thing and another, such as in choosing which career path to follow or on which company to apply to. Such things should not be taken lightly and a person must make use of effective decision-making skill to be able to make the right decision.
How to Assess Decision-Making Skill
Decision-making comprises a set of micro-skills that when present, will result to well-considered and opportune decisions. To determine your level of decision-making skill, find out if you possess these micro-skills.
1. Self-confidence. This is the first and foremost element of decision-making. If a person is confident of his own capabilities, making decisions no matter how big or small should not be an impossible thing to do.
2. Analytical Thinking. As mentioned earlier, decision-making involves certain steps, and one of these is to understand the situation. This is where analysis is needed because if one does not have the cognitive ability to analyze and put pieces together, it would be difficult to get a full understanding of the situation at hand.
3. Critical Thinking. Critical thoughts are necessary in decision-making because you need to think at a higher perspective, know the cause and effects, and make risk assessments.
4. Researching. Another step involved is to gather information and this is where researching skills would come in handy. Find out all the needed information to make a well-informed decision.
5. Conflict Management. This last skill is necessary because often times when making a decision, you will be faced with rejection and misunderstandings, and it is vital to know how to manage such issues so that you can achieve your objectives.
How to Enhance Decision-Making Skill
Below are some techniques that will help you in your goal to improve your decision-making skill.
Firstly, you need to identify your purpose of making the decision. Know what the problem really is and determine why you need to resolve it in the first place. Secondly, it is important for you to apply your research skill in order to gather sufficient information. Thirdly, come up with as many relevant choices and options, and then evaluate each one carefully. Make a risk assessment, determine the advantages and disadvantages of each, and weigh them well.
Once the decision has been made, outline an action plan and execute it. Thereafter, make a re-evaluation of the decision and determine if there were gaps and weak areas that need to be improved so that the next time around, you can do better. Now the last one is very important because unless you can figure out what went wrong and find out how to remedy it, you will not know if you made an effective decision or not.