Decision Making Process: Objectivity and Confidence

Published Categorized as Project Manager
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Through the years we have all come across managers who tell us they’re looking at a problem objectively, and then proceed to explain their attitudes or solutions in a most subjective way. When a manager starts off by claiming to be completely objective, you must wonder why she says this. When you hear such a statement it is wise to be extra aware of exactly the opposite—a lack of objectivity.

It’s unlikely that you will ever be able to be completely objective. We are the sum of all our experiences. We like some of our staff better than others, and may not even be able to explain why; it could be personal chemistry. As long as you recognize this, you can compensate by dealing fairly with those who are less liked.

It seems better for the manager not to bring up the subject of objectivity or subjectivity. How about being as honest as you can be in your dealings with people, and not get into all the shadings of objectivity and subjectivity? The recognition of how difficult it is to be completely objective is a good place to begin.

When your manager asks you, / ‘Are you being objective?” your answer ought to be, “I try to be.” No one can guarantee that he or she is completely objective, but an effort in that direction is admirable.

Quiet Confidence

Develop quiet confidence in your decision-making ability. As you make more and more decisions, you will get better at it. Most management decisions do not require extraordinary wisdom; they require your ability to acquire the facts and know when you have enough information to make the decision.

Don’t make emotional decisions and rationalize them afterward. When you do, you will find yourself defending a decision that you wish you hadn’t made. A bad decision is not worth defending, even if you’re the person who made it. Once you rationalize a bad decision, you’re trapped. Too many new managers believe that they have to be fast decision makers in order to be successful. This creates an image of shooting from the hip, which is not a desirable image to foster. The other extreme is taking a great deal of time to make decisions.

Balance and moderation are the keys. You don’t want to make decisions so quickly that they are poor decisions, or take forever to make decisions. Assemble the information you need knowing that you will often not have complete or perfect information, assess the situation, and decide. Don’t be rash but also do not set unachievable requirements for information. If you do, the opportunity will likely have passed you by before you decide.

Decision Making

It is important for your confidence to be able to use a variety of decision making methods. There are four: solo, participative, delegated, and elevated.

A solo decision making is when you make the decision yourself. This is the method you will likely use when you are the expert, time is short, or involving members of your team would not be appropriate because of the nature of the decision. A personnel decision is an example of a matter you may need to handle without involving members of your team. This does not mean you shouldn’t seek advice from people whom you do not supervise. You may be well-served to seek input from colleagues outside your organization, your supervisor, or even people who are not with your company before making a solo decision.

A participative decision making involves getting input from your staff members and making them a part of the process. The participative method can assist you with getting buy-in on the decision, help you make a better decision by getting those who will be a part of implementing the decision involved, and also may have some training value. Involving team members in making a decision can help them better understand the process and allow
them to improve their skills.

A delegated decision making is one you allow the team to make for you. You would use this decision making method when the team is more knowledge-able than you are or you are comfortable with any of the possible outcomes. As with the participative decision manking method, delegating the decision has training value and sends a clear message to the team members involved that you trust their judgment.

An elevated decision decision making is one you decide should be made by someone above you in the organization. This could be because you are not qualified to make the decision. A decision that will impact people beyond your team may also be appropriate for you to elevate. Elevate decisions reluctantly. You do not want to be seen as someone who is not willing or able to make decisions, but there may be times when you should legitimately remove yourself from the process.

Don’t be the type of manager who uses only one method for decision making. Be flexible in your approach. When you are able to select the correct decision making method for the situation, your confidence and self-image will soar.

By Alex Puscasu

I am a Project Management practitioner with more than 5 years experience in hardware and software implementation projects. Also a bit of a geek and a great WordPress enthusiast. I hope you enjoy the content, and I encourage you to share your knowledge with the world.