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With the seemingly endless amount of decisions they have to make, it’s fairly common for leaders to experience decision fatigue. Being in charge and leading the direction of a department or company is taxing. It’s OK to feel this way sometimes, but your decision fatigue shouldn’t get to a point where it causes complete decision-making paralysis.
To help, we asked members of Forbes Coaches Council to share some tips for leaders who want to overcome decision-making anxiety. Follow their advice to help you mentally push through and make the necessary decisions for the success of your business.
1. Give Yourself Permission For ‘Good Enough’
Clever, strong and structured thinkers are often analytical and detail-oriented. Perfectionism will drive them to want to know every detail so they can make the right decision. However, this slows them down and eventually not making those decisions will cause more harm than an imperfect decision. The remedy is to give yourself permission to make “good enough” decisions. – Mickey A. Feher, The MANTORSHIFT Initiative
2. Build Your Own Advisory Council
Even if you choose your own path in the end, that path should be informed by the input, perspective and experiences of others. Only then can you be sufficiently wise enough to make the best decisions. There is great wisdom to be gleaned from looking at the successes of others and working backward—as in “what did it take to get there?” No one is an island. – Karyn Gallant, Gallant Consulting Group
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3. Debate, Decide And Commit
Unlike a heart surgeon, it is more important for business leaders to be directionally right than precisely right. Surround yourself with people who have different experiences and perspectives. Allow for a healthy debate where all points are heard, then decide and commit. – Dan Hawkins, Summit Leadership Partners
4. Empower And Invite Others
If leaders are experiencing decision fatigue, I would question them on two things. First, are they empowering others who should be making decisions? These leaders could be micromanaging too much. Second, leaders may be making decisions that teams should be making together. Leaders should consider their decision-making habits and processes and change what needs to be changed. – Susan Madsen, Jon M. Huntsman School of Business
5. Learn To Trust Yourself
I was stuck in making decisions. I also have a need to think things through. I honored that need, but overanalyzing led to decision-making anxiety. When I realized my behavior of overanalyzing (not decision making) came from my “FEAR” of rejection (False Evidence Appearing Real), I was willing to trust myself and not overanalyze. Fear was my decision-making poison and trust was the antidote. – Patricia Russell, The Russell Consulting Group, Inc.
6. Weigh The Advantages And Disadvantages
One way to avoid decision fatigue and not succumb to analysis paralysis is to make the decision-making process simple. Create a chart of the advantages and disadvantages and score each item with one point. Once you add up the scores, you will have a clear picture of what you are facing. Determine the implications and impact of each final score and decide what you can live with and what you can’t. – Lori A. Manns, Quality Media Consultant Group LLC
7. Stick To Your Core Values
The crippling nature of decision-making anxiety or paralysis can be mitigated by incorporating a matrix of questions into your daily practice. Make sure these questions are grounded in your core values as a company. Use the matrix daily, practicing on the smaller decisions so you’re ready when the bigger ones arise. – Jon Dwoskin, The Jon Dwoskin Experience
8. Simplify, Simplify, Simplify
Most decisions are caused by chaos addiction. There’s too much information, agreeing to do things that don’t matter, unmeasurable projects or tasks, things that don’t affect sales or retention, etc. Go through your calendar and clear out anything or anyone that doesn’t affect your values, strategic vision or bottom line. You’ll be amazed at how much useless stuff goes away with the click. – Mike Koenigs, MikeKoenigs.com
9. Re-Ask This Fundamental Question
These days, leaders may be burdened with more and more issues. This can often lead to a loss of energy, even paralysis. This is not a good thing. How to combat this? In these instances, stop all the noise in your head and all the distractions. Now, in calm and peace, go back to the fundamental question of what needs to get answered above all. Start there with one item! The rest will flow. – Ash Varma, Varma & Associates
10. Know Whether The Decision Is Reversible
Leaders often feel decision fatigue because they treat all decisions as equal. A great tip that is used by Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson is knowing whether your decision is a one-way door (not reversible) or two-way door (reversible) decision. You can allocate resources, analysis and time based on which one it is to enhance the speed and effectiveness of your decisions. – Shefali Raina, Alpha Lane Partners
11. Lead Yourself First
Leaders make decisions; that is why they lead. Great leaders also understand the value of leading yourself first in order to lead others. Every great leader knows you must be in a position to make focused decisions and at the cutting edge of energy management. As a focused leader, we manage our own personal energy first. We can then lead and make better decisions. It’s rarely the other way around. – Adriana Rosales, Adriana & Company™ LLC
12. Determine Gains, Consequences And Impact
There are valid reasons for wanting to think through a decision. The next time you find yourself stuck trying to weigh all the analysis and data, ask yourself the following questions to help decide: What information is missing to validate the decision? What are the gains for making the decision? What are the consequences for not making the decision? What is the overall impact of your decision? – Sheila Carmichael, Transitions D2D, LLC
13. Visually Conceive Possible Outcomes With Others
Many decision makers who face paralysis have stopped taking the possible outcomes into a more visual view with their close-knit teams. They feel burdened with the decision and carry that burden until it stops them from acting. The healthiest way to unburden yourself is to write those visions out on a whiteboard and look at potential outcomes. Sharing possible outcomes will dissipate anxiety. – John M. O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.
14. Get To The Root Cause
There are many reasons why someone may struggle to make decisions. Use a trusted colleague, mentor or advisor to assist you in first determining the cause. Defining whether it’s the inability to make a decision, decision complexity or decision volume will allow you to create an effective resolution. – Lisa Marie Platske, Upside Thinking, Inc.
15. Remember That You Can Reevaluate
Many leaders become afraid of making decisions because they worry they will get it wrong. However, most decisions can be made with only 80% of the information—meaning, more information will not necessarily create a better decision. Moreover, if additional relevant information does become available, the decision can be modified accordingly. In other words, decide and reevaluate if needed. – Cheryl Czach, Cheryl Czach Coaching and Consulting, LLC
16. Make A Call And Trust Your Gut
As a leader, you often need to think on your feet and make quick decisions. You may not always get it right, but a wrong decision is often better than staying in one place with no decision. It’s great to seek advice but at the end of the day, you’ll need to make the call. If you get it wrong, you can generally fix it and it keeps you moving forward. Remember that done is better than perfect. – Daphna Horowitz, Daphna Horowitz LeadershipCheck out my website. Expert Panel®
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