11 Habits That Can Make You A Better Decision Maker At Work

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    Every day, each of us is faced with a myriad of decisions. From the time one wakes up to the time to the time one retires from a long day at work, everyone handles all sorts of concerns: from the most mundane matters to the most pressing of problems.

    Simple matters such as what clothes to wear for work to what dressing to put on your salad to what route to take in going to the office are some of those daily concerns that take up one’s decision-making energies.

    In the workplace, decision-making even becomes more critical as the quality and timeliness of the decisions are of the essence. The decisions that one may face at work range from what e-mails need immediate attention to what time should one set a meeting with his or her manager to who should form part of one’s feedback loop on an upcoming marketing campaign.

    Excellent decision-making is a crucial skill one must acquire as part of his or her personal development. What habits can make one a better decision maker in the workplace? Read on and find out.

    1. Gather all available relevant information

    Good decision makers are highly inquisitive people. They tirelessly gather information  from various sources (e.g. readings, online search, interviews). And they make sure that these sources are authoritative enough before such information is used.

    1. Commit to decide

    Reliable decision makers make clear and firm decisions in a timely manner. They know that their prompt decision is crucial for the team to be able to execute the different roles both individually and collectively.

    1. Eliminate small decisions

    Create preset solutions for small, everyday concerns like doing errands every lunch break or hitting the gym after work. Successful people don’t sweat the small stuff and reserve their mental energies for higher level of decision-making.

    1. Focus on the positives

    In assessing an issue or concern, take time to frame the issue in a positive manner. Refocusing the issue or concern will help one see it in a better light and thus, give one a better perspective in making a decision.

    1. Let subconscious thinking take over

    Tap into the power of your subsconcious mind by ‘sleeping over’ a problem. Keep yourself busy with other activities while allowing your subconscious brain to work through the problem ‘in the background.’

    1. Do mental debriefing

    Develop the habit of examining the choices one makes daily. At the end of the day, set aside 10 minutes to reflect on one’s mistakes and what one can do better the next day.

    1. Challenge your beliefs and assumptions

    Good decision makers challenge their assumptions. They step out of their comfort zones and talk to people with diverse opinions in order to widen their perspective.

    1. Examine how emotions affect your decisions  

    One must always be aware of his or her emotional state. If one knows that he or she is sad due to a negative comment given by his or her superior, this may affect one’s decision-making throughout the day. It is prudent to postpone, say, a scheduled performance review with one’s subordinate during that day.

    1. Practice self-compassion

    When faced with a tough decision, detach yourself from the situation and ask yourself, ’What advice would I give my colleague if he or she were going through this same problem?’ This approach will help one gain perspective and will allow one to be more objective about one’s situation.

    1. Devote mornings to major decisions

    One’s mind is usually well rested in the mornings. Thus, it is wiser for one to tackle more complex problems and issues during this time. One can set aside the latter part of the day, say late afternoons, to smaller, less critical decisions (like operational tasks and weekly deliverables).

    1. Adopt a set of criteria based on your personal values

    A set of guide questions can help one in making crucial decisions. Among the factors to consider before choosing a course of action are the following: 1) How does this decision benefit me? 2) How does it hurt me? 3) How does this benefit my team? 4) How does it hurt my team? 5) Does this decision reflect my values? 6) Would I regret making this decision? 7) Would I regret not making this decision?


    As each work day progresses, one goes through what is known as ‘decision fatigue.’ With the passage of the hours, the quality of one’s decisions begins to erode because one’s store of mental energies is depleted.

    Since our decision-making energies are finite, it is key that one knows how to apply these decision-making habits well and thus, make optimal use of one’s mental resources.  By being a prudent decision maker, one can also maximise use of company time and resources and  contribute more effectively to the whole organisation.

    Do you want to enhance your decision-making skills? Visit kaplan.com.sg and check out Kaplan Singapore’s Workplace Skills (WPS) programmes.

     
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