Quick-fire decision-making, in fact, does not inspire confidence in a leader’s ability to provide stable, strategic solutions for the long haul, one business expert notes.
In fact, writes Mark Chussil in a recent issue of the Harvard Business Review, the willingness to slow down and carefully consider all options is what separates good decision-makers from bad ones.
Chussil, founder and CEO of Advanced Competitive Strategies Inc., advises Fortune 500 companies on strategic thinking. “There’s a difference between someone who’s unsure after serious contemplation and someone who’s unsure after a quick pick… between someone who’s confident after laboring over a thoughtful decision and someone who’s confident with a snap judgment.”
In a recent experiment Chussil found that respondents with doubts who took their time in reaching conclusions were the best-performing group. This group tended to be younger and the majority of them were female.
Perhaps, he thinks, age is the reason – we gain confidence over time but maybe not skill. Maybe males have too much confidence and females not enough. In any case, the slow-to-decide group was most successful.
Other groups discovered that what they thought was the answer simply would not work. “It’s not that the managers didn’t care or were incompetent,” Chussil says. “It’s that they were overconfident. When you think you know the answer, you sincerely believe it’s a waste of time to keep looking for it. It feels like continuing to search for your keys after you’ve found them.”
The ability to go beyond the tried-and-true requires extra grit, daring and spunk that only the mentally toughest people have, notes Travis Bradberry in “15 Habits of Mentally Tough People.” In coming to conclusions at a strategic pace, mentally tough people exhibit true confidence as opposed to the bombastic false confidence some leaders use to mask their doubts.
So how do prospective leaders and new managers cultivate the intellectual fortitude necessary to reach the right decisions?
Bradberry notes that mentally tough people embrace change and are constantly adapting, capitalizing on the opportunities that change creates without fear of failure. Willing to take risks, they are supremely self-aware and embrace failures without obsessing about loss.
Extraordinary leaders rarely waste energy on jealousy and take other people’s opinions with a grain of salt. They let go of grudges and remain relentlessly positive.
Their ‘not-so-fast’ approach to decision-making prompts ‘what if?’ queries and encourages strategic thinking, Chussil says. Methodical reasoning, then, is what separates the good decision-makers from the bad.