Leaders are looked upon to be decision-makers, good leaders make good decisions. There are three basic types of decisions. Depending on the leader’s personality, situation, and the task at hand good leaders will make decisions across all three types. Most leaders tend to have a primary method of decision making that they rely upon.
The three basic types of decisions:
- Directive Decisions
- Consultative Decisions
- Consensus Decisions
Each of the decision types has advantages and disadvantages and are situationally beneficial to utilize. Leaders who work primarily in the directive decision-making mode are fast and efficient however they risk alienating and shutting down input and knowledge from those around them. In extreme cases leaders operating in this mode may be considered uncaring or callous by their subordinates, leading to underproductive teams.
Leaders who operate primarily in a consultative decision-making process enjoy the input and knowledge of those around them, make decisions at a moderate rate, and are usually well respected by subordinates who feel the leader listens and values their input. This is the form of decision making with the least risk of consequences to the leader.
Leaders who rely on consensus decisions are the slowest decision-makers. To operate in this mode, lengthy debate and dialogue are often required to have the group reach a common conclusion. At times, consensus cannot be attained. In extreme cases, leaders here are perceived as indecisive or weak.
Most leaders will find that which decision-making style they choose is situationally dependent. At a time of crisis and urgency, directive decisions are common. Routine decisions are typically best received when they are consultative. When dealing with a decision where impacted parties have deeply set opinions or will feel personally impacted by the decision; spending time to develop a consensus decision may be prudent. If consensus can not be reached, the dialogue conducted should minimize the impacts when a leader makes a consultative decision.
Leaders should reflect on how they routinely make decisions and empathetically consider how those closest to them view their decision-making process. On important decisions, ones that can impact the psychological needs of the team (security, esteem, or empowerment, etc.) a leader will benefit from discussing how the decision will be made and why the decision-making type was chosen with the team.
Global Management Partners