Are You Avoiding Making Those Tough Decisions?

May 20, 2013

All decisions have consequences and potentially tough decisions have tough consequences. This may be why some managers avoid making these decisions as they are afraid of what might happen if they get it ‘wrong’.

In this article we look at a few ideas for overcoming this fear based upon some familiar character traits.

The Procrastinator

This trait means you put off making the decision and typically miss deadlines. The problem is that not only will your decisions not be timely; the quality of your decisions will be poor.

One solution is to start thinking about the decision immediately after you know you will have to make it. This will help you think about what you will need to do to make this decision. It may also help to break it down. Some decisions can initially be overwhelming until you divide them into smaller decisions and work through them one at a time. Set yourself deadlines for completing each small decision so that you know will complete it with plenty of time to spare.

The Perfectionist

As a perfectionist you want to be 100% sure that the decision is the right one. Many people see this as a positive trait and will find it tough to let go.

Perfectionism is often about collecting more information than other people to improve your confidence in making a decision without risk and therefore avoiding criticism. In today’s world it is more about making quicker decisions even if they are not 100% correct.

The remedy for this is to gradually reduce your internal need for data or the need to be right every time you make a decision. Aim to gain a balance between information and speed of decision.

The Disorganised

Typically you may miss deadlines, lose or forget about requests for decisions. You may be inconsistent in what you give priority to and sometimes focus on trivial items.

The way forward if you display this trait is to concentrate on those really important decisions, organise your work around these few key areas. You often know that when you improve your overall organisation and discipline that you will feel better and in control. Find a simple system for organising that works for YOU. Think how your own brain works and use a way of working that is quick and encourages you to be disciplined.

The Person Who Sometimes Decides Quickly

Many people find that in some situations they can make difficult decisions in a timely fashion e.g. regarding their own finances, yet in giving negative news to their team they avoid doing so. The good news is that you already have the skills to make a tough decision and the secret is to tap into these skills. Think back to a time when you made a tough decision quickly. What thought processes did you go through? How did you overcome potential barriers or challenges. How can you apply this same process to your current tough decision?

Tough decisions are always going to be a challenge. Talk to people you know who already make timely decisions like this all the time. Ask them how they do it and see how you can adopt their style of thinking. When the time comes imagine you are that other person. Ask yourself what would they do, how would they think and see what happens. Above everything else always learn from what you do, successful or unsuccessful. Good luck!

Many thanks

Alan Mace

Training Consultant at MTD Training

(Image by Renjith Krishnan at

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