All leaders are faced with tough decisions on a day-to-day basis. Whether it be letting a team member go or dealing with an unruly client, you are tasked with the hard jobs in the office. While tough decisions are never easy (they are called tough for a reason), there are a few things worth keeping in mind that may make the decision-making process a little easier. From focusing your eyes on the prize to looking to your teammates for help, here are our top six tips for tackling tough decisions in your office.
"As a leader, you must have the fortitude to make the tough decisions."
1. Remember the bigger picture: Decisions have the potential to reverberate. Small decisions can have greater implications down the line. Make sure, as a leader, that you always have the bigger picture in mind. Fast Company contributor Barry S. Saltzman emphasized that there is no room for slapdash decision-making in a company. Take all decisions seriously and make sure that all of the choices you make are aligned with your underlying goal for your company as a whole.
2. Stop putting off decisions: Stalling helps nobody. As a leader, you must have the fortitude to make the tough decisions, and to make them in a timely manner. While not every decision will be glamorous or fast-paced, remember that every move you make has meaning. Take the big with the small, the good with the bad, the hard with the easy. Don't put any business decisions off, tackle them with confidence and your personal power will surely shine through.
3. Stay calm: If anyone can speak to the value of staying calm while making tough decisions, it's Capt. Chelsea "Sully" Sullenberger. In a contributing article for Entrepreneur Magazine, Sully uses his experience landing a plane on the Hudson River to give advice to leaders about making tough decisions. His first suggestion? Stay calm. While we hope you're not forced to land a failing plane anytime soon, it is always helpful to stay calm in tricky situations. Sully suggested attempting to calm your mind in order to fully process your next move. Inducing a state of tranquility despite your surroundings can help provide some clarity before you make your final call.
4. Standardize success: When it comes to tough decisions, it can be endlessly helpful to have a system in place to help you decide. Saltzman suggested asking yourself some key questions regarding your ultimate business values. Is cost reduction or efficiency a more important value? What are your company's long term goals? Do you prioritize improving business relationships over projecting your personal power? The answers to these questions can help guide you on a path towards the right choice. Try to use them to standardize your decision-making process, and share them with your employees. This can help make sure every decision that is made is made with your company's values in mind.
"Just because you're the head honcho doesn't mean you have to go it alone"
5. Lean on your team: Just because you are the head honcho doesn't mean you have to go it alone. Remember that there are people around you that are happy to help. Do you need a second opinion? Would drawing your second in command into the office as a sounding board ease your stress? There is no reason you can't ask for some help. Remember, you hired these people for a reason. Utilize their expertise and see if their insights can help put you on the path to making a decision.
6. Create optimal communication: There are few scenarios that don't call for clear lines of communication. In order to be able to make hard decisions in a quick manner, there should be a solid foundation of communication in your office. Sully noted that without the already strong existence of communication between himself and his crew, the landing may not have gone as smoothly. Make sure there is communication at every level of your decision-making process, whether it is with your team or other business partners. It is crucial to have all the correct information laid out in front of you before your make a final call. Clear communication can help ensure nothing gets lost in translation.