One of the biggest mistakes I see in my corporate management seminars are professionals who want to be effective team leaders, but haven’t quite figured out the formula for how to go about it. It can be a tough goal to achieve because you have to get many different personalities on the same page to accomplish set goals.
Where many team leaders get bogged down is stressing over making decisions. Again, this is understandable because you have a lot riding on it and ultimately, it’s probably your head that’s going to roll if things go wrong.
Effective Leadership Skills: A Decision-Making Starter Map
With the above being said, one of the hallmarks of successful people is that they know how and when to make decisions. To this end, following are three things you can do to help you make the right decisions – quicker – as a team leader.
Note: Of course, “right” is subjective; what I mean by right in this case is making the best decision with the tools/information you have at the time.
1. Weigh Your Options: For example, let’s say that one of the decisions facing you as a team leader is whether or not take a territory from one sales rep and give it to another. In this case, you have two options, ie: (i) let Sales Rep A keep the territory; or (ii) give it to Sales Rep B.
So, how do you decide what to do? This question brings us to the next step, which is to…
2. Predict the Outcome: This step causes confusion for many because an obvious question may be, “Can you really predict an outcome?” The short answer is — that’s not important. Why?
Well look at it this way, the fact that you’re even considering taking a territory away from Sales Rep A to give to Sales Rep B means that you’ve come to some kind of conclusion about how that territory is being handled; otherwise it wouldn’t even be on your radar, right?
So the secret to success at this stage is to ask yourself some hard questions, eg, why am I considering this doing this, what are the consequences of doing so, and am I willing to move forward once I’ve made the decision.
3. Evaluate the Risk. Risk is what keeps many of us paralyzed – even when we’ve evaluated the pros and cons, and gotten all types of data and input from others. And, this is what separates effective team leaders from others.
While they may be afraid of risk, they realize that it’s part of being a leader – and move forward anyway.
The reason this stage stumps so many is because it goes to the heart of their situation, ie, what you have, what you want, and how bad to you want the outcome. The key to success at this stage is to know your strengths, your talents, what motivates you and how to overcome obstacles.
In short, when you know and trust yourself – your gut instincts – you’ll get more confident making decisions – and be a more effective manager as well.
Making better decisions is a skill that can be developed, much like being an effective team leader. Of course, there are many nuances that you’ll need to develop in order to do this. These three steps give you a point from which to start.