For some project managers the idea of making major decisions is a big worry, while for others it is just one of the many parts of the job. Either way, you won’t be able to get away from this aspect of the role.
If you want to have an easier time of your decision making there are a few steps you can take and a few things to bear in mind.
Get Others Involved
If you take all of the responsibility for making the big decisions in your project then this is a good thing. However, you also need to bear in mind that you have other people around who can help you out. Even if you are the person who is going to sign off the decision you can still get team members and stakeholders involved in the process of arriving at the point of knowing what needs to be done. There is no reason why the project manager job needs to be a lonely one if you surround yourself with the right people and listen to their suggestions when it matters most. It certainly isn’t the case that getting other people involved in the decision making process is any sort of a bad reflection on your skills. Project leaders need to know when to look for input from other people and this is a prime example of when you should do this.
Choose the Right Time
Most of us have a time of day when we are in the best frame of mind for making important decisions. Maybe you will like to sleep on it and come up with your solution in the morning. Personally, I like to read up on the issue at the start of the day and then leave it at the back of my mind during the rest of the working day. This way might not work for you but what you need to do is come up with a process which gives you confidence that you are going about it the right way. This might mean trying out a few different methods until you find the one which works best for you in the long term. If your present way of making decisions isn’t working for you then a relatively simple change like this could be just what you need to improve matters.
Use Your Experience
After some time working as a project manager you will have come across a few different situations and should be a lot more confident about how to deal with them. This is the only realistic way of gaining more confidence in your decision making skills. When you first start out in this role you may look at older, more experienced projects managers and wish that you could deal with difficult decisions as well as them. The good news is that in time you will be in this situation too if you set about learning from all of the issues and problems you come across. Experience never comes easily and it is something which can’t really be rushed. However, you will get there in the end and you will find that things come a lot more easily to you once you have some experience behind you.
Don’t Make It a Painful Issue
Perhaps the most important point here is that you need to look upon your decision making as being an important and possibly even enjoyable part of the role. If you see it as a problem and something to be avoided then you are unlikely to make the best possible job of making the right decisions. You should try and look on this as one of the more exciting parts of your project manager role. After all, the big decisions you make are the ones which are going to define the project, and that is pretty exciting stuff. If you find that this is a painful part of the job then you should ask yourself what exactly it is that you don’t like about making decisions. The simple fact of the matter is that if you want to be a project leader you are going to have to get used to making big calls on sometimes difficult subjects. This might seem impossible for you just now but if you stick at it and keep learning it should start to become less painful over time. Try to approach it as a relatively fun – and definitely essential – part of the job and see whether your attitude changes with this new outlook.
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