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Using Your Leadership Brain to Make Decisions

Part of the The Leadership Brain For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Making good decisions under a variety of conditions is a critical leadership skill. Your brain works differently to decide when you have little time than it does when you can mull over your options.

When you have the time to research the situation, do the following to make your best decision:

  • Clearly define the situation or problem that needs to be solved. Get a firm grip on the challenge you face, defining what exactly needs your attention.

  • Gather all of the data relating to the problem. Call on relevant team members to make sure that you get all the facts you need.

  • List all possible solutions. Start by casting a wide net; include solutions that seem outlandish — they may be more realistic than you realize at first or at least lead you to a creative solution that’s just right.

  • Consider the consequences of each solution. Given a little thought, a solution that seemed right might turn out to have minefields within it. Take care to look at the possible effects your solution presents.

When you’re making decisions with little time:

  • Consider previous situations and the effects of prior decisions. Have you faced similar situations? If so, examine the way you handled them and the consequences of those decisions.

  • Look to the future and the impact this decision could have. Even though you’re pressed for time, considering the ramifications of your choice is critical.

  • Gather as much information as you can in a short period of time.

  • Listen to your instincts as well as your logic.

Becoming more aware of your body’s responses to stress helps you control your emotions and take them into consideration along with your rational thoughts as you consider an issue.

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