supervisor you have to make decisions every day – some with minor consequences
and others with far-reaching effects. A lot can be at stake: personal success,
the future of your employees, company development. Generally, the further
reaching the decision is, the harder it is to make a decision. While in many
cases you can draw on your wealth of experience to find a solution to a
recurring problem, new situations require strategic and innovative solutions.
Use the following 7 decision-making aids the next time you have to resolve a
1. Do you make decisions intuitively or
Every day you make many decisions intuitively. These solutions based on a gut
feeling have a decisive advantage: they are made quickly. But one disadvantage
can be: they are subjective. They are shaped by your previous knowledge and
your personal experience. Therefore, make intuitive decisions only when you
know enough about the background.
2. Making decisions based on proper
Every time an important decision is to be made, it is crucial that the
situation is analyzed thoroughly. Albert Einstein once said: "Recognizing
a problem is more important than resolving it; describing the problem
accurately leads almost automatically to the right solution." What do you
want or have to decide? Express your problem as a question – preferably in
writing. This also works when the facts are very complex. Give it a try.
3. Before making a decision, gather
Every good decision needs to be based on sound information. Take advantage of
the expert knowledge among your co-workers. Someone who stands the whole day
long in front of a machine often has a completely different view of the
production process. Examine this source of information. Also use informal
sources, such as tips from acquaintances. These days, the most fruitful source
is the Internet, but always remember: the information that you obtain in forums
or online encyclopedias such as Wikipedia are often not 100 percent accurate or
4. Who can you learn from?
To find good ideas, it is often worthwhile looking at how similar problems were
resolved. Have the courage to use other peoples' solutions and adapt them to
your needs. This strategy is called innovative imitation. However, there are
also situations where you have to rely on your own imagination. Just remember:
good ideas often come on their own and quite unexpectedly. Sometimes it helps
to think about something else for a while and then suddenly you have a
brainwave that brings you a step closer to solving your problem.
5. Advantages and disadvantages of a decision
If you find several good solution approaches, you have to weight them up
according to advantages and disadvantages, opportunities and risks. Also, if
you prioritize certain points, you increase their significance.
6. Examine feasibility as part of the
Many decisions sound good in theory, but they are completely impractical.
Therefore, always compare the effort and the benefits. With especially elegant
solutions this point is often disregarded if your enthusiasm makes it hard for
you to consider the problem factually.
7. Stand by your decision
When you have made your decision, stand by it – at least until new, important
aspects arise that put a different light on your decision. Then you have to
start the decision-making process all over again.