Decisions, decisions, decisions. If you are frightened of sticking your neck out and making decisions then the project manager job is going to be extremely difficult for you. It is a role which requires a lot of decisions to be made, often under trying circumstances and a fair bit of time pressure.
There are some very good reasons for being decisive when doing this job and below are a few of the top ones for you to consider.
To Move the Project Forward
The strongest reason for being as decisive as possible is also a very simple one; to make the right decisions as soon as possible. This doesn’t mean rushing into decisions without thinking them through properly. What it means is knowing when the time has come to stop the thinking and to commit to a course of action. This might come naturally to you or it might be a struggle to get the hang of working this way. Either way, you need to find a way of pushing the project forward through making timely and correct decisions. Maybe you are someone who works best under a bit of pressure, in which case you will probably wait until things get pretty urgent before you make your move. Personally I like to try and get ahead of the game but there are certainly times when I can’t come to a final decision until I feel the pressure of the calendar bearing down on me.
To Set a Good Example
Whether it is for the benefit of your stakeholders or for the rest of your team members, it is essential that you show everyone else involved in the project that you are the sort of project leader who knows how to make decisions. Of course, the impression you make on others is a big part of the role, whether you like it or not. If you appear to be indecisive and out of your depth then the other people you are working with could lose confidence in your ability to take the project in the right direction. By taking the bull by the horns and sorting things out speedily and without any fuss you will let everyone else see that you are right person for the job of leading the project.
To Resolve Problems
Sometimes you might need to make a quick and accurate decision in order to keep the project on track and avoid problems. A good example of this could be if you are doing some work under a bit of time pressure and something unexpected crops up. Maybe you will have to decide whether to cancel the work you are doing or amend it in some way. This kind of decision made on the hoof can bring out the best in you if you treat it in the right way and put your best efforts into making it the right move. When you are first starting out in the role it could be tricky to get it right but over time you should get more comfortable about being able to make the right choices at the right time. Sadly there is no way to really plan in advance for a lot of the situations like this. You can certainly think about the sort of thing which might crop up, but you are most likely to be taken by surprise by something which is completely unexpected rather than an issue you could have planned for.
To Avoid Over Analyzing
A big problem for a lot of project leaders is that they aren’t used to making decisions, and this in turn leads to them over analyzing the information. I came from an insurance underwriting background, which certainly helped me get into the habit of analyzing information and then coming up with a decision. If you find that you go round in circles trying to get to the perfect answer then it could be time to look for a different way of doing things. A tip which I was once taught was to write down a list of the strengths and weaknesses (or pros and cons) of taking a particular action. It can actually be quite a good idea to look at a list which shows you how long the list of strengths is against the list of weaknesses. Clearly it isn’t an infallible method but if you find yourself struggling to come up a definitive answer then ideas like this are well worth considering to help you out.
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