Decision Making

Build Your Team's Decision-Making Skills

Ask The Expert

By Barbara Mitchell

Q: I want to help my staffers make better decisions on things like how best to use our resources—both people and dollars. How can I help them gain confidence in their decision-making skills?

A: I like that you are focused on employee development, because employees crave opportunities to add skills to their resumes. By emphasizing decision-making, you’ll be helping your talented staff to hone skills that will prepare them for additional responsibilities and even managerial opportunities.

If you’re serious about helping members of your team to be part of the decision-making process, you will need to trust in their abilities—especially if you want them to be able to make decisions about people and dollars.

To get started, include one or two of your top performers when you’re working on your departmental budget. They can observe your thinking and decision-making process, and you can get their input on nonconfidential areas of the budget and evaluate how their decision-making is progressing. This is a safe way to help them improve their skills without any negative impact on the organization.

Then, when you’re confident they’ve mastered those basics, let your team members make recommendations that you can evaluate. Hopefully, you’ll agree with their decisions, and your positive reinforcement will help them build their confidence. If you don’t agree, your feedback will help them learn.

If you’re serious about helping some of your staff to be part of the decision-making process, you will need to trust in their abilities—especially if you want them to be able to make decisions about people and dollars.

Here are the steps in the decision-making process:

  • Evaluate circumstances, consider alternatives, and weigh pros and cons using a problem-solving approach.
  • Use critical-thinking skills to reach objective conclusions.
  • Articulate the conclusion and why it’s the best alternative.
  • Move forward with the decision. If it’s the wrong one, be open to learning without becoming defensive.

Decision-making skills take time and patience to develop, but most of all, they take a manager who sincerely wants to develop a promising employee or two for more senior-level positions.

Barbara Mitchell is a human resources and management consultant and author of The Big Book of HR and The Essential Workplace Conflict Handbook. Do you have a question you’d like her to answer in “Ask the Expert”? Send it to [email protected].

 

Employee Training Leadership Development