Decision-making soft skills are valuable not only in the workplace but in all levels of society from relationships to team sports to career moves. Being able to make a well-informed decision saves time, resources and energy and can make you a better and more productive employee, partner, parent, teacher, and student. This short article will look at ten ways to enhance your decision-making soft skills.
Making choices by assessing the information available is known as “decision-making.” It is an excellent soft skill to develop and tweak throughout all stages of life. Employers need employees with excellent decision-making soft skills. These employees are assets to the company and contribute to its success.
Great decision-making soft skills include time management, flexibility, the ability to compromise, critical thinking, active listening, problem-solving, the ability to strategize and the ability to investigate and be a team player.
Set decision-making deadlines
Set deadlines for each decision that needs to be made. Try to discover the importance of your decision to begin with. If it has an enormous impact give yourself a longer time to decide. This in turn can improve your time-management skills. Soft skills tend to be used together and decision-making soft skills are always used in conjunction with a host of other skills.
Make a Plan
Sit down with a pen and paper and make a plan. Think about the decision you must make. Thrash out the advantages and disadvantages which could occur. Examine what resources and supports you have. Think about why the decision is important. Think about what could go wrong. Ask advice from peers, friends, colleagues, and managers. Try to predict the outcomes of your decision.
If you are unclear about an action or result, try conducting an experiment that is like the decision you are considering. This enables you to predict a hypothesis and use research and a strategy when designing your experiment and producing protocols. Let us say you are a manager of a large company, and you need to ask three hundred people how they will feel about working extra hours on a Saturday. You are considering the best way to do this. You could ask ten people first in confidence as an experiment and this will give you a better idea of how to ask the larger group.
Limit Your Choices
The decision-making process is more difficult if you have too many choices. By limiting your choices, you can make a more informed decision so try to reduce your options and keep them at a minimum. For example, if you were choosing a profile photo for a social media account for your school, focus on photos that show something specific about your school and omit ones that are irrelevant. This is a quite simple example, but it still highlights a valuable technique to help you become a better decision maker.
Be in control of the decision-making process. It´s a soft skill that takes work. If you are working in a group, work with your teammates and brainstorm the advantages and disadvantages of each choice and set a time limit. This enhances productivity and helps the group to come to a fast and productive decision. Productivity is especially important in a group environment and being assertive and in command of the situation helps all stakeholders come to a decision faster. The entire process can also be helped by informing your group of your preferred choices and explaining why you consider some choices better than others.
Make a List and Work Through It
Time-management soft skills and decision-making soft skills can be improved by prioritizing decisions. This is a simple but effective strategy. Make a list of decisions that need to be made. Start with the least important decision and work your way through to the most difficult decision. A feeling of empowerment can be attained by ticking items off the list and this can improve confidence in future decisions. This feeling of empowerment empowers you and when you feel empowered you can be more productive and get more done. Sounds simple but works a treat!
Keep Things In Perspective
Judge the value and consequences of each decision. Do not waste valuable time on smaller inconsequential decisions which may have only a tiny impact on future successes. Instead, focus your time and energy on more important decisions. Keep each decision in perspective, this can teach you how to compromise and become more flexible in your approach to the decision-making process. Again, this may sound like a simple idea but sometimes the simplest ideas are the most effective. Life in many ways, is all about perspective.
Weigh Your Options
Make a list of all the pros and cons of each decision. This will aid you to scrutinize all your options and choices in a more informed way. The process itself may even aid you to consider new choices. Making a neat, organized list allows you to examine your decisions in a structured layout and can help you to weigh up each choice objectively. Being objective is an excellent skill to master. Be analytic, think critically and use your problem-solving soft skills to the best of your ability.
Learn From Your Mistakes
We can learn a huge amount from the past and our previous failures should not be looked down upon but be seen as a way of learning and improving. There can be a success through failure. Use lessons from the past to hone and develop your decision-making soft skills. Analyze previous decisions and allow yourself to be guided by their outcomes and utilize that valuable information to make new and improved decisions and choices.
Consult an Expert
Getting an opinion from an expert is always a great decision. Never feel bad about asking for advice. Getting advice is an excellent habit to develop and when you learn from advice you can pass on that advice to others in need. Ask managers, friends, colleagues, and peers for advice. There is an old saying that “a problem shared is a problem halved.” Keep this in mind when you are making important decisions. People have different ways of looking at things and it is always an excellent idea to get as many different perspectives as you can. Communication is a crucial part of the decision-making process.
You can see by now that soft skills have a habit of working together, they exist in harmony with each other, and we use each soft skill to guide us through processes in the hope of reaching a successful outcome. Think of soft skills as tools and use as many as you can to achieve your goal. The more you consciously use soft skills like time management, conflict resolution, negotiation skills, leadership development and emotional intelligence the better and more adept you become at using them.
Life is a constant learning curve. We never stop learning and we never stop developing and we never stop decision-making so you might as well become an expert. It is something you will do in uncountable situations for the rest of your life.
The ten tips in this article are tried and tested methods of improving your decision-making soft skills. They are simple to implement but extremely effective. Try them out, they are suitable for all levels of society, and we all need to make decisions all of them time. Making bad decision could result in disastrous consequences whereas making a well-thought out, informed decision could result in life-changing results. Some decisions are crucial, some are trivial, understanding which is a soft skill.
Big decisions require time and thought. When you are tired, you are more likely to decide on the easiest or less challenging choice. This is often called “decision fatigue.” For important decisions, ensure you get a restful night’s sleep and are as clear-headed and grounded when possible. If that is not possible, step back for an hour, get some fresh air and clear your mind before making the decision.
Along with these ten tips don´t forget some basics. Exercise, get some rest, take sufficient breaks, sleep well, eat well, get some fresh air, and spend time in the company of positively minded friends. Life is a holistic experience, a well-rested, well exercised, well-fed person is likely to make better decisions. Don´t take the simple things in life for granted.
Practice making decisions. The more you practice, the better you will get. Decision-making is a process and processes can be developed and finely tuned.
Try out these tips and good luck with your decision-making soft skills!
Patrick is from Ireland and has been teaching for the last twenty years. He has worked in Malaysia, Myanmar, India, Spain, Japan, Taiwan, Oman, and Saudi Arabia. He has a degree in English Literature and Applied Psychology. Patrick loves travelling and learning about new cultures. He is passionate about motivating students to maximize their creative potential.