The Importance of Decision Making in the Workplace

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Being able to effectively make decisions in the workplace can make you a better leader and have a number of positive benefits for both yourself and your organization as a whole. Most people make numerous decisions every day, so knowing why decision making is important and how to improve your decision-making process may improve your overall work productivity and satisfaction. This article explains why it’s important to know how to make good choices, key factors that are influenced by decision making and tips on how to improve your decision-making skills.

Why is decision making important at work?

Decision making is often an integral part of a leader’s role in the workplace. Even if you aren’t in a leadership position, your ability to make decisions can still have a positive or negative impact on your work-life as well as your company as a whole. Being able to effectively make good decisions can provide a number of benefits. 

Examples of the benefits of making good decisions:

  • Save time and resources
  • Cultivate and maintain the respect of others in the workplace
  • Improve productivity
  • Prevent mistakes and risks

The better you are at making decisions, the more success you can experience in your position. Demonstrating your decision-making skills at work can be beneficial when seeking higher leadership positions as well as contributing to the achievement of objectives and goals in your department or company.

Key factors that are influenced by how decisions are made

Here are some of the common factors that are directly influenced by how decisions are made in the workplace:

How resources are utilized

There are several ways in which a person, team or company as a whole can use the resources available to them. With proper decision-making skills, resources can be used in the most efficient and profitable way possible. However, with poor decision making, resources can be wasted and may result in higher costs being incurred for a project.

Employee job satisfaction and motivation

The overall job satisfaction, motivation and engagement of employees can be directly impacted by the leadership’s ability to make decisions. Employees who work for management that make poor decisions often feel as if they cannot trust their leaders. They may also feel as if the directions they receive from management may not be the most effective way to go about things. As a result, employees can lose motivation to perform within the workplace which can ultimately lead to decreased job satisfaction may even negatively impact employee retention. By committing to making good decisions, you are giving your employees the opportunity to trust in their leaders and know that the work they do is valuable.

Accomplishment of goals

Making good decisions in the workplace can positively contribute to the accomplishment of personal, team and organizational goals and objectives. While poor decisions can result in mistakes, misunderstandings and inadequate use of resources and time, good decisions can lead to increased productivity and enhanced time and resource management. This can ultimately lead to quicker and more effective achievement of goals.

Company culture

When leadership gains the reputation of poor decision-making, the culture of a company can suffer. Employees may not trust their management or feel like they cannot rely on management to make decisions that positively impact their work-life. However, effective decision making in the workplace can allow employees to feel secure in their positions, feel a better sense of commitment to the company and increase overall employee engagement.

Growth of an organization

The decision-making skills of management and other stakeholders can directly affect the growth potential of an organization. Making ill-informed business decisions or not weighing the pros and cons of a decision can result in detrimental challenges that can stunt the growth of a company. However, well-thought-out and smart business decisions can support a company as it grows and foster more growth opportunities.

How to improve decision-making skills

Here are some steps you can take to improve your decision-making skills in the workplace:

1. First, narrow down your options

The fewer options you have available to you, the less overwhelmed you will feel when making a choice. For example, choosing between two different ideas to implement is much easier than trying to choose between 10. When possible, eliminate unrealistic or impractical options so that you only have to select from those with the most potential.

2. Second, determine how important a decision is and how much time it deserves

Before you exert too much time on any one decision, rate each decision on its importance and choose exactly how much time you will spend on it. For example, decisions that hold little importance, such as the brand of ink you should order for your office printers, should not take up a full day of your time. However, more important decisions should receive ample time. Choosing how much time you give each decision before you begin the decision-making process can help ensure you spend your time wisely and give priority to the decisions that really matter.

3. Then, be as informed as possible

The more research you do and information you have, the better able you are to be able to make an informed decision. Know what factors are involved in the decision and any other information you need to feel comfortable and knowledgeable when choosing. For example, if you are trying to decide between hiring one of two employees, take the time to learn all you can about each. How much experience do they have? Where did they go to school and what was their major? What have their references said about their work? You could also consider asking them to give you a sample of their work so that you can compare the samples to each other for a further understanding of their potential.

4. Next, avoid making decisions based on emotions

Making decisions based on your emotions can lead to impulsiveness and poor choices. If you are emotionally attached to an issue or decision that must be made, refrain from making it until you can be objective about the matter at hand. Look at the facts surrounding the decision rather than how you feel about it and don’t be afraid to ask for additional time (if possible) to ensure you are as clear-headed as possible.

5. Finally, consider the pros and cons

Understanding both the benefits and the costs that can arise from a decision can help you feel more secure and prepared when you make one. Every decision has at least one pro and one con. For example, if you are trying to decide whether to implement daily catered lunches for your office, a con would likely be the cost of these lunches, while a pro would be that it could boost company morale and employee appreciation. If many is an issue for your organization, you may choose not to make this decision or to alter the decision (e.g. only offer catered lunches once a week versus every day). However, if your organization is in need of improved employee appreciation and you are financially fit, this may be a good choice to make.