Decision, Decision and Decision

In High Performance Leadership class, I found the exercise of the four decision-making styles is very helpful. It brings the awareness to me that different decision-making styles could apply to different situations. If I can master all these four decision-making styles and know when to apply them, I will most like to make a good decision.

Autonomous. The leader alone makes the decision, although data collection from others is possible. I would make an autonomous decision when I believe:

– I am an expert in the area
– I believe I have better information than others
– Its in an urgent situation and immediate decision is needed
– The decision is apparent to me

Consultative. The leader involves other in the decision-making itself, but the final decision will be leader’s first choice. I think that I most likely to make a decision in this fashion. I usually like to consult with others, but in the end, I have a strong opinion about the decision. I think this decision-making style is most applicable when:

– The situation requires to involve others, but consensus is difficult to reach
– I need more information to make a quality decision
– There is no expert on the team for the problem

Joint. Joint decision-making is by consensus. This means all people have their say, and collectively work toward a solution that all can actively support. This means that the leader will accept a decision that is not first choice. I personally find this decision-making style very time consuming, and I am not sure it’s necessary for every situation. However, I would make a join-decision if:

– The situation is complex and there is no expert on the team
– It’s an important issue that requires consensus of the team the potential consequences of the decision are severe

Delegative. In this case, the problem is delegate to an individual or subgroup to make the decision. I would delegate the decision to others under these conditions:

– the decision is not mission-critical
– I trust the direct reports can make a quality decision.
– The problem is within the expertise of the individual
– The decision will give them more autonomy and encourage initiatives