How many times have you looked back at a decision and seen so clearly the better options? Hindsight can be painful, as it shines a light on the hunches you’ve ignored, ideas dismissed, and information misinterpreted. What if you could have that clarity in the present, and the confidence that goes with it? You can, and here’s how.
Maintain a thoughtful state of mind.
If you’re distracted by the past or future it’s impossible to make the best decisions in the now. Being present brings focus, allowing you to hear your own wisdom and know when input from others is needed. Those around you will feel your confidence and want to get on board.
Being present requires slowing down and managing your thoughts. Stop wasting time worrying about the past and projecting into the future. Give yourself time to think and plan by taking control of your schedule. Decisions won’t get rushed and you’ll learn to say no to requests that aren’t aligned with your priorities. For motivation to adopt some new practices, think of the lost productivity and strained resources brought on by poor decisions in the past.
Carve out time throughout your day to revisit objectives
Take time before meetings and conversations to affirm the purpose and objectives. Running from one meeting to another with no time to reflect on why a meeting or one-on-one is on your schedule decreases the probability of a productive outcome. It also undermines the importance of the project or activity and the value of those involved. Instead of trying to get a few more emails answered, use your time to ensure your meetings and conversations actually serve a purpose and bring about the outcomes you want!
Get buy-in and grow the value of each team member.
Having the opportunity to help another person develop and evolve and see how they can contribute even more is an honor. Your team members want to be part of the conversation and know their voice matters, so let them know you value their unique experiences and perspectives. As a leader you’ll get more buy-in, cooperation and engagement when others are involved in the brainstorming and decision-making process. While this process may take more time at the outset, it will save you time later on.
Once you’ve gathered outside insights, hone in on the end goal, review the information, and make the decision you feel is best. Or give it to someone else to make!
Know when to decide, facilitate, or delegate.
In order to know which approach is best in a given situation consider these questions:
- Who has the expertise needed to make the best decision?
- What’s the likelihood others will resist versus commit to the decision you make?
- Does everyone have a similar position on the goals and desired outcomes?
- What are the time constraints, and can you bring people together within them?
- How important is the development of your team in this moment, or around this issue?
Use these questions to evaluate which of these routes is the most efficient given the circumstances and your longer-term goals.
Do a final gut check and let your inner wisdom be your guide.
You have all the resources you need to make smart decisions and the wisdom to know when you’re ready. Confirm that all critical questions have been asked and that assumptions feel valid. Waiting for all possible data is inefficient, delays results, and indicates a lack of leadership or confidence. Taking the time for a final check-in with your gut and inner guidance, however, will set you apart from your peers and lead to decisions that bring you the results you want.
For more tools and guidance on making smarter decisions, get my 3 Practices for More Confidence and Staying Focused guide on what you most want to achieve.