One of the biggest problems facing leaders in the world today is the issue of decision-making. People tend to over-analyze things before they make up their minds on what to do or not do. One of the things that have been attributed as the cause of this is the vast opportunities or myriads of information out there. We are in an epoch of information overload, which can make decision-making a little more difficult. People are faced with a deluge of information to the point it becomes difficult making up their minds. A term has even been created for this state of things, called “paralysis.” Leaders must be decisive in the world today. This isn’t important only to the corporate world but to other aspects of society as well. Leaders across different areas of life need to keep perfecting the art of decisiveness.
“Decisiveness is the one word that makes a good manager.” — Lee Iacocca.
Whether it’s a father as the head of the house or a mother who exercises care and control over her children. Or a religious leader who presides over their flock. Or a teacher who teaches a classroom of students—decisiveness is a fundamental leadership trait that shouldn’t be underestimated. Sometimes, in a bid to avoid making mistakes, people fail to decide on time or fail to settle on a given issue. This article seeks to throw enough beam of light on the all-time importance of being decisive. It’s so important for leaders today to develop this trait. It could be what could make the difference between closing a deal or not for some corporate entities. Leaders need it more than ever. We will be looking at ten reasons why decisiveness is a core leadership trait.
10 Reasons Why Decisiveness is a Core Leadership Trait
Traits are distinguishing characteristics or qualities, especially of one’s personal nature. In leadership and management, the traits that leaders and managers exude can be the chief determinant of whether such an individual will succeed in their endeavors or not. We see some personal attributes in people: decisiveness, empathy or emotional maturity, optimism, honesty, focus/vision/foresight, inspiration, self-confidence, initiative, and innovation, charisma, intelligence, effective communication, flexibility, etc. Some managerial traits that people could develop are knowledge of human dexterity, administrative know-how, technical understanding, ability to deal with people, the ability to judge and decide quickly, etc. Today, we will be honing into decisiveness (i.e., characterized by or displaying no or little hesitation; resolute; determined; having the power or quality of deciding). It is a core leadership trait that is crucial—needing cultivation by all leaders and managers. So, what then are these reasons?
#1. Decisiveness Helps You Overcome Paralysis
Sometimes, in a bid to be perfect, leaders fail to decide on-time, which could have a costly impact on the individual or organization. Some leaders get stuck in “analysis paralysis” (i.e., when an individual becomes so lost in the process of examining and evaluating various points of data or factors for a problem that they are unable to decide with it); that they are unable to make significant headway in accomplishing their set goals and objectives. This activity can cause a leader to freeze-up and become afraid of taking the much-needed timely action. Job execution becomes slow or even impeded, which can lead to a loss for corporate entities. In the case of leaders in other spheres of life such as parents, teachers, and so on, it causes them to suffer a similar fate. The more deliberate you go about becoming decisive in your actions, the better you grow in the art of decisiveness. Do yourself a favor and stop overthinking—do it.
#2. We Live in a Jet Age
The world today is an ecosystem where only the truly decisive can thrive. Companies today are expected to make decisions within minutes or sometimes seconds within which to do or refrain from doing a thing. Any little delay in execution and billions could be lost within split seconds. This is a problem faced by top CEOs in boardrooms, a problem encountered on the family front, among entrepreneurs, in religious settings, to mention but a few. Amid inundating information overload in today’s macrocosm, everything is moving at supersonic speeds. Companies need to be agile. For this to happen, their leaders must hone their art of decisiveness and become perfect at making fast—and as much as possible—accurate decisions or risk being overtaken by the competition. Many times, there is no chance for second-guessing. Perfection in this art will lead to higher scalability for the leader who becomes a good leadership trait practitioner. It would help if you had a strong bias for action.
#3. Gives You Control
Being decisive gives you an edge over situations; it gives you a sense of control. When a leader or person is definite about a decision, they are not mastered by the circumstances that they face; they become masters over their situations by way of decisiveness. In far more cases where you took a decision and were able to stand by it, you find it easier to retrace your steps should the action you exercised turned out not to be a positive one. It is like the 3-Second Rule in driving that allows you to self-correct while driving to eschew dangers ahead. That is what being nimble at decision-making does for you; it gives you the control and opportunity to timely self-correct an error. Decisiveness puts the ball in your court and shows people that you are in charge. Even if you end up not winning, people will respect you because you are a focused, goal-driven, and decisive person.
#4. Gives You Speed
When you make decisions fast and, on the fly, respond to situations that require immediate action, it helps you get quick results. It increases your chance for growth because you can do things fast, which cuts down costs in the long run. It also gives you a good reputation before others, shoring up their confidence in your ability to lead, execute tasks timely, and deliver positive quality results. In business, clients see you as smart and have a strong and positive bias for action. Because of this, clients trust you more and are more likely to repeat more business transactions with you. Great and fast decisions can lead to higher profits for the company. Leaders who have honed the art of decisiveness often scale-up the corporate ladders quickly—more promotions, remunerations, and benefits. They become almost indispensable appendages that the company would do everything not to lose. In the family, you are seen as a courageous person, and so on. The advantages of being decisive are quite enormous—you can’t beat the benefits of speed; it gives you an edge over others.
#5. Makes You Stand Out
When you are decisive, it makes you stand out in life. It is the hue that distinguishes an individual from the monochromatic and boring life. People get to know you as someone who knows their worth and knows what they want, and is always ready to go for it when the need arises. A person who does all of this will be different from the rest and the pack of people out there. People then get to identify such a person as a core leader because this is a rare trait. In a corporate establishment, a decisive and good person at it in a specific area of expertise soon becomes the subject matter expert (SME) in that area—the go-to person in that field. Dexterity and decisiveness go in pari-passu. The more knowledgeable you are in a field or experience, the more decisive you become in that area; the more confident you become, the more you quickly grow as the establishment’s backbone. In the home, parents can become heroes to their children when they are decisive by nature.
“The way to develop decisiveness is to start right where you are, with the very next question you face.” — Napoleon Hill.
#6. Helps You Grow Under Pressure
There are times in life when you must make drastic decisions within a short burst of time. Because at that moment, it is what determines the outcome of such an urgent situation. This could be a matter of life and death or concern of immediate success or failure in some circumstances. For instance, deciding to invest an immense amount of money in a business deal with a 50/50 chance of scaling through or not. We are not immune to the demands of life, no matter what setting we find ourselves in. Pressure makes you ask the question of “What in the world is happening?” By asking the “what” question, you soon gravitate towards knowing “why” you are experiencing the pressure. It becomes an exploration to see the root cause of a situation. By asking the “why” question, you soon start asking about “how” you can solve the problems creating the pressure. You try different things, and eventually, you derive a “result” that works. It’s a growth cycle that keeps on giving—the pressure is the birthplace of growth.
#7. Sharpens Your Problem-Solving Abilities
Leaders are people well respected in life. Constant exposure to situations that require immediate decisions sharpens a person’s core leadership abilities. Such a person can gain a reputation as someone who can offer workable solutions to problems during times of confusion or chaos—they always have the knack of finding the missing piece of the puzzle. It’s a magnificent quality that can be harnessed positively and for the good of the individual. Leaders need to leave their comfort zone and take actions where necessary. Think about a parent who never disciplines their child even though such a child is a truant. What do you think will be the outcome of such a reckless disposition? A parent must take severe disciplinary action on his or her ward to correct the behavioral variation at some point in time. Leaders in organizations and other entities also expect the same sort of effort.
#8. Improves Your Self-Esteem
The merits of being decisive cannot be overestimated. Leaders are expected to be people with healthy self-esteem. There are certain things they do that enhance this feeling. One of these is the output of their actions. When they repeatedly take decisive steps, it improves how they feel about themselves and makes them proud of themselves. It instills in them the confidence that they can get the job done. Self-esteem isn’t a quality developed in a vacuum. It can be generated when you put yourself in challenging terrain. Healthy self-esteem is also very contagious; it impacts the individual who has it and can also affect the team’s output.
#9. Gains You Trust
People trust leaders who are decisive by nature. It shows that such a leader is trustworthy, has a known way of doing things, and is bold. Such a leader builds an ambiance of camaraderie where trust is the rope that the team uses to surmount problems in the organization. Decisiveness is a core leadership trait because it helps you build your level of confidence and boldness. Nobody can lay claim to courage if they are known for always being afraid of doing something in the heat of action. Trust is earned by those who are confident in themselves, those who decide to act rather than not act at all. Decisiveness is a magnet that will get others to trust and depend on you.
#10. Helps You Stay Focused
Pursuing different things simultaneously and achieving little or none of them is usually a function of misplaced priorities and the inability to decide on one thing and then sticking to it. There is so much to gain from the concentration of effort than in its diffusion. Doing too many things at the same time makes you too spread-out, and therefore weakens you. However, staying focused on one thing makes you a master at it. A leader must be decisive enough to settle for his core genius and stick to it, to paraphrase Robert Greene. He also must be decisive enough to state his opinion, make a statement, issue an order, or refuse to compromise, discipline a truant child, or whatever act or inaction that points toward achieving a set goal without letting doubt and fear set in.
Leadership in the 21st century has become a Herculean task owing to the complexity of lifestyle we have today. Businesses, families, religious organizations, and so on all experience this complicated way of doing things. In other to cope with the trend, leaders are required to be adept at flexibility and adaptability in learning. When a leader learns these things, he must approach the task of decision-making with some level of firmness. When he wants to decide, he must be resolute in so many cases. While it is necessary to allow some measure of democratic decision-making style to come into play, as has always been, the man at the center must be capable of firmness of purpose and willpower. When these things are absent, people see nothing but weakness.
“Decisiveness is a characteristic of high-performing men and women. Almost any decision is better than no decision at all.” — Brian Tracy.
It would be best if you dissociated yourself from habits that have put you on the back burner. Come out of your shells of hesitation and indecision and wear a stronger and firmer coating capable of withstanding the droughts of uncertainty. Approach life with utmost clarity of mind. Know what you want from the onset and strike when the opportunity presents itself, and do not hesitate. Losing the brush but winning the war is a concept that is also crucial here too. If this plays in your mind further at any point when you’re about taking critical decisions—pause, think, and then navigate entirely from a place of certainty. Sometimes your emotions may want to come into play. While it is good to listen to your sensations, it’s also important you don’t allow it to have an overriding effect on you as to cloud your sense of reasoning. Be decisive—Embrace it, and don’t be shy about doing so!