Decision-Making Skills: Definition and Examples

By Indeed Editorial Team

11 June 2021

Decision-making skills are important for one to be an effective leader in a company. Leaders who make solid decisions guide their companies to a path of long-term success. Employees led by great decision-making leaders are confident since they bring clarity and direction in challenging work situations. In this article, we will discuss what decision-making skills are, how to improve on them and how to highlight them during a job application.

What are decision-making skills?

Decision-making skills prove your competency in selecting the best possible choice from those provided. It involves using the information you have to weigh up possible risks and opportunities of the decision you make and stick with. Consulting with people is a key element in decision making so that you can make unbiased and balanced decisions that produce the best possible results that benefit your organisation.

Examples of decision-making skills

To make the best decisions, you require certain skills that allow you to collect relevant knowledge and use it to analyse a situation before making a decision. The skills listed below can improve your decision-making skills, and boost your chances of being hired by a potential employer if included in your CV:

Problem-solving

Having problem-solving skills enables you to make vital decisions for a company or organisation. An effective problem-solving leader makes decisions that benefit the company, without being guided by emotions, or personal loyalty to certain employees. They make decisions that minimise the chances of the same problems recurring in future.

Leadership

Leadership skills enable you to mobilise employees in the company to rally behind the decisions you make for accomplishing the set goals. As a leader, it's your responsibility to motivate employees to work hard to achieve the goals set, after decisions are made. Have a solid relationship with employees so that they are free to talk to you. That way, they can give you insights from their perspective that can help you make decisions. Being approachable by employees enhances working relationships that benefit the company.

Logical reasoning

To make solid decisions you need to first evaluate all the data and facts presented and that requires reasoning. Ensure you evaluate the merits and shortfalls of all the actions or decisions under consideration after going through the data and facts. Avoid bias or emotions that can affect your judgement when reasoning and making decisions. Where decisions are made collectively, reason out the data and facts with a trusted team committed to similar company goals as yours.

Related: Deductive Reasoning in the Workplace

Intuition

Intuition involves using instincts when making decisions. Decision making through instincts can be informed by your past professional or personal experiences, and the lessons subsequently learned. Values and ethics can influence intuitive decision making. Decisions made through intuition are quicker than those that rely on scientific analysis. However, combining intuition with scientific measures ensures better decisions are made.

Teamwork

As a leader, it's important to engage other employees when making some decisions. Employees can critique your ideas, or come up with new ideas or suggestions that can improve the quality of your decision. For instance, if you oversee a marketing team, you can exchange ideas with them on how to boost, product or service sales, to increase revenue. Collaborating with other employees in decision making motivates employees to easily buy into your decisions, since they feel their input was valued and incorporated.

Emotional intelligence

Some professionals find that having high emotional intelligence (EI) helps you to make effective decisions. A high EI enables you to be intuitive and pick up non-verbal cues or bodily signals from employees, and avoid making risky decisions. You can boost your emotional intelligence by asking for advice, and being self-aware of your values, purpose and the core mission at the company you work for.

Creativity

Creativity enhances the quality of decisions made by increasing the number of available alternatives. It creates space for unique ideas to be generated and the creation of new solutions. Allocate time weekly or monthly to be brainstorming ideas with other employees to utilise their creativity. Exchange of ideas fosters employees creativity and, from such meetings, short and long solutions are developed that make a company competitive. They feel their input is valuable and feel important to the company.

Time management

Setting a timeline in which decisions have to be made is necessary to ensure client deadlines are met. Allocate time within which certain decisions have to be made. Still, be aware that some decisions require more time than others. Time management in decision making helps you to plan how to make a decision and within what time frame. If the decision has to be made by the end of the month, you can allocate time at each stage of the decision-making process to develop possible actions or solutions.

Conflict resolution

Sometimes, business decisions can involve disagreement. As a leader, conflict resolution skills enable you to reason with employees who feel the decisions made are not favourable to them. Conflict resolution aligns such employees to focus on the company's goals.

Organisation

Organisation matters when making decisions. If you plan to get feedback from clients on your company's goods or services then target the right people. Gather all the necessary information on your target demographic and organise your marketing campaign and outreach around their needs.

Related: Transferable Skills: Definitions and Examples

How to improve decision-making skills

Follow the steps below to help enhance your decision-making skills:

1. Identify the situation

Once problems occur in a company and are identified by employees and reported to middle-level management, call for a meeting with the employees involved. If the problems can interfere with the set strategic goals of the company, the executive management can be informed. This helps you to create awareness of a decision that needs to be made and make sure it reaches the right people.

2. Write possible solutions or actions

Record all the possible solutions for the problems. During a meeting, explain them to employees in your team and solicit their input or critique. Send an email of the solutions for the employees to have them on record. After listing the solutions, list the possible action points for employees to carry out, based on the decision eventually agreed upon.

3. Write each option's advantage or disadvantage

Before proceeding to the decision-making stage, discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each option the employees present. From those options shortlist the best ones based on if it matches the set company goals of success. Be sure to consider all of the perspectives of a decision when outlining strengths and weaknesses to fairly represent the decision and its consequences.

4. Select the decision

Select the decision you feel is the best and try it and measure the results. That helps you to learn from the decisions you make, by tracking the results and comparing them with the aforementioned strengths and weaknesses. This step helps sharpen your decision-making skills for future situations. At this stage, you can look for new information and make the relevant changes.

Related: How to Perform a Risk Analysis (With Tips)

Ways to showcase your decision-making skills

The following are ways to highlight decision making on your CV:

  • Incorporate the phrases and verbs in the job description: Try to match the verbs and phrases in the CV to those written in the job description to get the attention of the recruitment manager. Verbs like brainstorming or phrases like 'decision-making processes' can make the recruitment manager take more interest in your application.

  • Underline the impact numbers of the roles you previously undertook: Underline the impact numbers to highlight your accomplishments of the previous roles you held in other companies. For instance, if you mentored and trained a 10 member marketing team which resulted in a 25 percent sales increase, underline that percentage in your CV.

  • Refer to other job websites: To have a CV that best matches what a potential employer might be looking for in a candidate, it's wise to visit other job websites and see how other job applicants prepared theirs and highlighted their decision-making skills.

  • Network: You can network to seek out advice from experienced professionals who have held the job you are targeting, to understand how decisions are made within your job niche at the companies they worked for.