One of the most frequent things we are expected to do in our day-to-day life as leaders is make decisions. Big ones, small ones—they get thrown at us all day long. Particularly when times are tough, it falls to us to figure out which way to go.
But just because we are in a position of leadership doesn’t mean we somehow have more discernment or insight than others. We do, however, have to find a way to tap into our ability to make decisions in order to lead effectively.
How do you choose when you’re stuck?
Have you ever been in a situation where neither option in front of you is appealing? You wrack your brain for ways to make either side better, but ultimately both choices have significant drawbacks. Or both choices have significant benefits. Or all of the above! How on earth do you choose when both sides seem equal?
You choose by recognizing that there is no perfect decision.
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It sounds simple, but the reality is we can get caught up in the desire to make the “right” decision more often than we realize. It’s impossible to have all the information, weigh all the possible outcomes, analyze the various permutations, and get it perfectly. But for those of us that like to “get it right," it can be paralyzing when faced with a difficult decision, especially when the stakes are high.
As leaders, our job isn’t to be perfect. Our job isn’t to get it right all the time. Our job is to lead, to inspire, to create, to allow others to grow.
Indecision is far more damaging to the growth of our businesses and our people than making the wrong decision.
The more we delay choosing, the harder it becomes to choose. Which isn’t to say we should throw darts at the wall to make an important call, but overanalyzing doesn’t get us anywhere either. Indecision is the most painful place we can be, and it stunts our own growth and that of our teams.
The next time you are faced with a challenging decision, remember that there is no perfect decision. The more you practice the act of deciding, the easier it gets and the more the people around you see that it is ok to take risks. You will get it right some of the time, and you will screw up some of the time. That’s ok.
The people around you need to see you making a decision and taking action more than they need to see you get it right every time. Weigh the information you have, collect more if you need it, then check in with your gut. That voice inside you can be very illuminating if you’re willing to listen to it. There’s a reason Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan has the resonance it does. We learn more by doing than by thinking about what we should do. So make the call, and move on to the next. Build your capacity to decide the same way you build a muscle – by using it.