Decisions are fundamental in a successful workplace. In any career, one will face many situations where the ability to make a well-informed choice can differentiate them from others.

This makes them not only an asset in business, but with relationships and personal life as well. The awareness of why this skill is so important and the understanding of how to execute it effectively may heighten one’s performance in many situations.

This eliminates the chance of making poor decisions; those of which can have negative outcomes on oneself and many aspects of their work.

This article will examine a few categories as to why decision making is important, how and what it can affect, how to develop this particular skill and how to do it well in a team. Hence “decision making at workplace is an art” and one can learn can learn it to win the respect of other while proving oneself as a leader.

Related reading: How to Identify and Develop Soft Skills in the Workplace? 

The importance of decision-making

As stated earlier, decision-making is encountered on a daily basis. Whether it be as an employer, deciding on the right candidate for the job, or as straightforward as an employee debating which task ranks higher in importance to achieve. Such situations are guaranteed to occur, so it is crucial that they can be solved with the utmost efficiency.

Although the stakes of decision making varies on the rank of the individual in the workplace hierarchy, the value of well-informed decisions is extremely beneficial to everyone. When showing this skill, there is a chance of increasing reputation and possibly work rank, due to the necessity of its use.

What work aspects can decision making affect?

It cannot be pressed enough as to how important decision-making can be. A single choice can impact the result of many situations for the better (or worse), so it is important to be aware of what they are and how to achieve a positive and productive end-result. Those who are very biased in decision making, they are more likely to fall into confirmation bias. Such types of people can’t work like true professionals at the workplace.

Specific to the situation, good decision-making skills can:

Save costs

As an employer, there are many considerations that must be taken in order to manage their investments. For instance, staff wages are a big factor that must be rated highly in importance. If extra persons are rostered when there is no need, there can be a large amount of funds wasted that could have been put to good use elsewhere.

Utilities and stock are another component and if not handled correctly, can also result in money wastage. It is critical to handle the situation when the decision makers have to pick the best out of multiple choices. So you need to learn how to make smart decisions.

For example, a café owner needs to provide quality coffee. To do this, they must locate different choices of milk brands and evaluate which upholds a quality standard without breaking the bank. By researching and comparing with competition, they can make a choice that will satisfy the customer, whilst accommodating their budget.

Reduce product wastage

In the current day, this is an extremely significant issue, not just in the workplace but in households as well. If materials aren’t ordered in accurate quantities, are not used correctly or do not suit their requirements, it may lead to unnecessary waste; therefore, a waste in costs also.

For example, the boss of a paper company decides on changing their brand of ink. Instead of researching a few different options and comparing each of their pros and cons, they decide on buying one as the labelling pleases them.

In this case, the ink does not fit the quality standards of the company and is more expensive than their previous ink brand. This shows poor decision-making and results in wasted costs and resources. 

Improve time management 

By choosing how to best use your time, productivity in the workplace can increase exponentially. As an employee, it is important to manage time as well as possible, as it can show great potential and work ethic. However, if managed incorrectly, tasks may not be completed, staff wages can be wasted and reputation in the workplace can decrease. 

For example, an employee at a hair salon is in the midst of handling a client’s hair. They place a hair treatment on said client, but do not take notice as to how long it is left in for, which results in hair damage.

This shows poor time management and can affect customer loyalty, as in this instance, the client was not provided the service they required and wasted their time, money and effort.

Provide customer satisfaction

In any business, customers and their satisfaction are a priority; without them, there would be no market to cater for. Understanding how important their support and loyalty is to an industry can help factor them into decision making.

A workplace that is attentive to the needs and wants of their market can be more effective in obtaining necessary sales and customer loyalty, rising above competition that doesn’t put in these efforts. 

Prevent liabilities

In every industry there are risks, whether big or small, and it is the responsibility of each worker to ensure safe practices that eliminate the chances of them occurring. Liabilities cover a range of different things, whether it being an injury, harassment, incorrect wages and more. It is imperative that a system is followed, in accordance with each unique case, to ensure any negative effects are avoided.

For example, a bricklayer is standing on scaffolding whilst building a wall and is not wearing the correct work-wear. As they have not followed the procedure for safe clothing at work, they are putting themselves in a position where they may be harmed. This is a liability that can be easily avoided.

Develop relationships

By taking the time to consider others’ ideas in your decision-making process, an individual can build strong relationships with them. This is an important strategy for employers and higher ranked work members to use as it makes their team feel valued, in turn creating a happy, motivated workplace.

The stronger the bonds between a team also increases loyalty, reducing the chances of an individual withdrawing from their position for negative reasons. A great way to help include the visions and thoughts of all employees is to have a suggestion box and/or have frequent team meetings to allow anyone the chance to speak their mind.

It is important to have an open-mind when approaching these suggestions, as any biased reactions would defeat the original purpose. As mentioned earlier, here in this situation as well, the decision makers have to save themselves from being fallen into confirmation bias.

Training to become a good decision maker

As decisions occur so often, it is critical that a structure must be followed to ensure a decent solution, regardless of the situation. To do this, it is important to follow a system which will analyze the problem, look at a wide variety of solutions, then provide the most beneficial outcome.

Below is a process that includes all aspects of decision-making to yield the most positive result.

  • (Step One) Specify the issue
  • (Step Two) Analyze all options
  • (Step Three) Determine the pros and cons
  • (Step Four) Select an option
  • (Step Five) Implement the choice
  • (Step Six) Evaluate the outcome

1.) For example, an employer has noticed that one of their employees are decreasing in productivity when at work. They are taking many sick days and aren’t performing to standard, which is making a negative impact on the business.

This has fulfilled Step One, specifying the issue, which in this case is the unmotivated staff member.

2.) Step Two is to analyze all options. The employer has a few different choices in this scenario, the first being to fire the employee immediately.

3.) Using Step Three, they understand this would be the fastest path to eliminate the issue, however would lead to the need to find and hire another candidate to fit the position. Using these two steps makes it possible for the employer to find the correct solution for the issue.

For example, option number two could be to have trust in the staff member and hope that they will set themselves back on the right path; thus, remotivating themselves to work to the correct standard.

Although there is a chance that it may happen, there is no definite proof that it will happen, leaving the chance that business will continue to decrease.

Option three is to organize a meeting with said staff and address them on their actions. This situation could go many ways: the staff, possibly irritated with the negative report, quits instantly. Or, this gives them the opportunity to be aware of their negative effects and change how they act to resolve the issue. The employer decides they will follow option three and give their staff a chance, fulfilling

4.) Step Four. However, they realize that there is the possibility there will be no changes, even after the discussion, so the employer decides to provide an amount of time in which the staff must prove they can change their current attitude. If nothing improves in that amount of time, they will be dismissed.

5.) This leads to Step Five. The meeting is held and the staff member takes it quite well, understanding the impact of their negative attitude. They are given two weeks to show they have what it takes to uphold their duties and be part of the team, otherwise they will lose their position.

Two weeks pass and the attitude of the staff hasn’t improved as planned, resulting in them being removed from the business. Another member is hired and productivity climbs to higher than the standard.

6.) Following Step Six and evaluating the outcome, the employer decides they made a good choice.

Although the staff member was fired regardless, the way the employer handled the situation showed that they were able to empathize with their staff and give them a chance. This reduced the possibility of lingering negativity or backlash due to the loss of position, showing great leadership qualities.

It is important that a good decision maker must remove any emotional viewpoints when making their choices as it allows the chance to view all possible options, remaining unbiased.

This gives the best chance of the business being ranked highly, as it should when it comes to decision-making in the workplace. It is also essential that these choices be made within a reasonable time limit, to reduce the possibility of negative results, which can further the ability to use this skill. 

Emotional bias and emotional intelligence are two separate fields

As it is known, IQ or Intelligence Quotient is the measure of an individual’s mental ability; the higher the IQ, the greater the ability to problem-solve. There is another measure, EQ or Emotional Quotient, which determines one’s range in five different categories.

These are self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. This topic is quite important as it reflects on the way humans can change emotionally, which can result in the possibility of changed thinking.

When someone is motivated in life by the need of connection and self-expression, they reflect on negative situations with a positive perspective. This helps them grow understanding of not only themselves, but influences how they perceive any decision in life.

For example, an individual who is positively driven may put themselves through a wide variety of different positions where they are challenged. Taking only the positive influences from these situations, their way of thinking on a particular subject may have been altered by the knowledge they have gained.

The more this is practiced, the higher the number of angles a situation can be observed from. For someone with a high EQ it would be easier to make well-informed decisions, compared to the decisions of someone with a low EQ, as they have the necessary strengths to help influence their choices. This is what makes a good leader and more importantly, a good decision maker.

Decision making as a team

When working as a group, this skill can be utilized extremely well, gathering the opinions from a wide variety of sources. This not only increases the chances of making a suitable choice, but makes workers feel more involved; in turn strengthening the trust and bond in work relationships.

This has very positive effects in a workplace; building loyalty with staff and reducing the likelihood of any negativity occurring, which could have unfavorable consequences. However, there is still the possibility of negativity, which can occur when a team may not be open minded.

It can be hard to decide on a final option if there are members of the party who believe their suggestion is the answer and won’t agree to a compromise. To ensure this situation does not arise, it is crucial to implement the correct decision-making when choosing the team.

By weighing the strengths and weaknesses of each member, it is possible to choose those who will have the most positive effects on the team and the business, making group discussions an easier, more rewarding process. Knowing how their team works can also aid an employer in making them feel more comfortable and are able to make use of their assets.

By having a team that is comfortable working on a project and trusts each other and feels comfortable, an employer can be assured that their employees will also trust in their decisions, strengthening the confidence of both employer and employees.

It cannot be emphasized how valuable this bond is for a business. Staff that share this business connection of positivity are more likely to: 

Have better communication

By having the confidence to speak their minds, knowing that they are in a safe and accepted environment, all workers can have their say. This results in staff feeling involved, making them more productive at work and improving their teamwork. This also helps the strength of the team trust to grow, helping them solve problems with high efficiency.

When it comes to making certain decisions at organizational level, the leader in charge has to take responsibility for effective communication among the team members. It is a proven fact that one cannot make a sound decision in isolation which means as a leader, you have to bring all parties onboard to take the perspectives of all the stakeholders.

Different perspectives of all the concerned parties will help in framing the issue in a unique way. However, when a decision is made without consultation of the concerned parties in the organization that is more likely to end in a catastrophic decision.

Take pride in their work

The better an employer is at making the right decisions for the business and staff, the higher the chance that said staff will make choices that have positive effects on the business. This is because the trust in good leadership helps develop pride in work successes, providing motivation to work. 

Make less mistakes

By placing the trust in leadership to make the correct decisions, staff are more likely to accept advice and implement it in their work. This favors higher chances of success, and even if a negative outcome is met, it provides a chance for both employer and employee to learn; again, helping to build a trusting relationship.

It is important to note that a scenario may occur when no reasonable options may be encountered within the team. In this case, it would be wise to seek insight from an individual that has more knowledge in the area.

This is not regarded as poor-leadership, as it shows they are not afraid to seek higher consultation when in need, regardless of their own specific naivety. It gives them a chance to learn, so when faced with a similar issue, it can be resolved efficiently.

This is the key to a happy, harmonious workplace, and can result in improved business productivity and a raise in reputation. 

Avoid falling into groupthink and the biases

There are always advantages and disadvantages of making decisions as a team so as being a leader you have to be smart to avoid its downsides.

First of all, you have to make sure that this entire process of decision making must not be trapped into groupthink. It can be proved toxic to the decision making process that has to be carried on at the organizational level.

Also you need to be careful as the expected biases can potentially distort the overall process as well as the ultimate outcome. However, there are certain advantages of bringing more minds into the process of decision making to solve the issue in question. Researchers have suggested some incredible strategies to increase the chances of your team to land on a successful solution. These strategies include but not limited to:

  • Make a small group of stakeholders specifically when you are in process of making some crucial decision
  • Keep the irrelevant people away from this group so that the decisions made the group should help you reach the desired goal
  • Bring the diversity in the group
  • There must be a devil’s advocate in the group
  • There is no harm to collect the individual’s opinions independently
  • Let the team members speak without any hesitation
  • Over-relying on experts in your group may harm the decision making process 
  • Bring all the parties in action by assigning the tasks and collective responsibilities for the desired outcome


Decision-making is such an important skill to master when it comes to any workplace. It is used on a daily basis, and when practiced effectively can have many positive effects and outcomes on a scenario.

Those who can use it to their advantage show not only a high EQ, but leadership qualities which can further them in their specific area of work. This is definitely a skill that is worth working on and will improve many factors of their business and life.

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Patricia Baker

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