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Decision Making for New Leaders

When Keisha first stepped into her new role as a manager, she felt a rush of excitement and trepidation. The promotion was a recognition of her hard work and expertise, but with it came the daunting task of leading a team and making critical decisions. As a former individual contributor, Keisha excelled in her domain. Now, she had to navigate the murky waters of decision-making that affected not just her, but her entire team.

delaying a decision can sometimes be worse than making the wrong one

It didn’t take long for the first major decision to land on Keisha’s desk. The team was facing a tight deadline on a high-stakes project, and resources were stretched thin. Keisha had to decide whether to request additional help from another team or push her current team to work overtime. She was torn. On one hand, she didn’t want to overburden her team; on the other, she was wary of appearing incapable of managing the workload within her own team.

Keisha recalled a piece of advice from her coach: “In decision-making, gather all relevant information, but trust your instincts and be decisive.” She called a meeting with her team, openly discussing the challenges and possible solutions. To her surprise, the team appreciated being involved in the process and suggested a third option: reorganizing their workflow to better manage the time constraints.

With the first hurdle behind her, Keisha’s confidence began to build. She realized that effective decision-making wasn’t just about choosing the right option but also about how she involved her team in the process. This collaborative approach not only yielded better solutions but also fostered a sense of ownership and trust within the team.

However, Keisha wasn’t immune to the common pitfall of analysis paralysis. When faced with a budget allocation decision, she found herself drowning in data, unable to move forward. Days turned into weeks, and the decision remained pending. It wasn’t until her coach pointed out that delaying a decision can sometimes be worse than making the wrong one that Keisha took action. Through this experience, she learned that not all decisions require exhaustive analysis; sometimes, a well-informed, timely choice is the best course.

Keisha’s journey also taught her the delicate balance between data-driven and intuitive decision-making. There was an instance where a team member, Mark, was struggling with his performance. The data suggested he wasn’t a good fit for the role, but Keisha’s gut told her that with the right support, Mark could thrive. She decided to invest time in coaching Mark, providing him with resources and mentoring. Over time, Mark’s performance improved significantly, and he became one of the top contributors on the team. This experience underscored the importance of not just relying on data but also considering the human element in decision-making.

To streamline her process, Keisha used a simple decision-making framework with the mnemonic DICE TWICE:

  • Define the Problem: Clearly understand what needs to be decided.

  • Inform Yourself: Collect relevant data and perspectives.

  • Consider Options: Evaluate possible solutions and their implications.

  • Engage the Team: Seek input and foster a collaborative environment.

  • Decide: Trust your judgment and make a timely choice.

  • Influence any holdouts: Help folks disagree and commit in order to move forward together.

  • Communicate Clearly: Ensure that everyone understands the decision and the reasoning behind it.

  • Evaluate and Learn: After implementation, review the outcome and learn from the experience.

Keisha’s journey from a hesitant new manager to a confident decision-maker wasn’t without its challenges, but each decision, right or wrong, contributed to her growth. She learned that effective decision-making is as much about the process as it is about the outcome. By involving her team, balancing data with intuition, and learning from each experience, Keisha became a leader who could make effective decisions confidently.

If you're a new manager, decision-making might feel daunting, but remember: every decision is an opportunity to learn and grow. Embrace the challenges, trust your instincts, and lead with confidence. Your team is counting on you, and with each decision, you’re shaping not just your future, but theirs as well.

Having a coach to work with can help make things feel easier. Reach out today to set up a complimentary consultation.


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