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Posted at: Mar 15, 2017, 12:36 AM; last updated: Mar 15, 2017, 12:36 AM (IST)MANAGER’S DESK: FEARS IN DECISION MAKING

Make your decisions count

Atam Tej Arora

In analysing the five functions of management — planning, organising, staffing, directing and controlling — we find that each one of these involves decision-making. Decisions range from broad decisions about the objectives of the company to specific decisions about day- to-day jobs. 

Decision-making process is a conscious, intellectual activity, involving judgement, evaluation and selection from several alternatives. In actual practice, a decision is only as good as the methodology used to reach it. The authority to decide is the authority to manage. 

There are, however, certain fears in the minds of manager/supervisor which do not allow them to take a correct or suitable decision.

The reason why many people are indecisive, is the fear of having to assume responsibility for the choices they make. But unless a person is able to make up his mind without undue anxiety, it is impossible for him to achieve any real peace of mind, happiness or success. 

The following rules could help to overcome the common fears that enter into decision-making:

  • An executive is bound to make a wrong decision occasionally. So what? As the British statesman Gladstone remarked, “No man ever became great or good except through many and great mistakes”. Therefore forget your mistakes, but never ‘what they teach you’. They are your best instructor.
  • Whenever you find yourself hesitating unduly in arriving at a decision, ask yourself, “How important to me or other people is this matter”. Take as objective and impersonal a viewpoint as possible. 
If the matter is really an important one, take time to think it over and consult others if you think they can help. 

But if the problem is minor one, take a decision and forget it. Any reasonable action is better than none.

  • If you are inclined to worry and stew over your decision afterwards, remember that the tension you feel will disappear with time. Comfort yourself with the thought that you have added to your stature mentally and emotionally by taking action yourself instead of avoiding the issue by procrastinating or passing the buck.
  • Never forget that others will judge you (and you, therefore, should judge yourself) by the long-range, overall accuracy of your decisions, not by isolated instance. 
While patience, tolerance and understanding may be the key to getting along with others who just can’t make up their mind, they are not the key to getting along with yourself, particularly if you tend to be indecisive.

The only intelligent attitude to overcome indecisiveness is to develop determination. It may not be possible to overcome it completely because, as one writer observed,” It does not take much strength to do things, but it requires great strength to decide on what to do”. It is by putting forth constant and continued efforts and conforming to the process of decision-making that any manager/supervisor can make up his mind as to when and what he should do.

Managing business refers to a variety of needs and goals. It requires judgement, making it possible by narrowing the range and the available alternatives, giving it clear focus, a sound foundation in facts and reliable measurements of effects and validity of actions and decisions.

— The writer is former AGM from MECON and an academic


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