Am I Always Right?
The most important and frequent function of a manager is decision making, the manager’s main task is to ensure the organization stays in line with its strategic goals. The ability to make the right decisions for the organization separates the manager that inspires employees and pleases superiors from the others. A confident manager gives the rest of the team a sense of purpose and sets the standards for the team, department, and/or organization.
This decision making ability is not evident during the recruitment process, if it was, only the best decision makers will be employed for managerial
positions or any position for that matter. Managers start by making good decisions and then start a journey through a downward spiral into the depths of poor decision-making and for some there is an oscillation between different points of the spectrum.
The question is what causes managers to make the wrong decisions? Factors that affect the quality of decisions include cultural, social, psychological and organizational processes. The ability to make good decisions is a result of how the mind works. Good decision-making involves the ability to consider various alternatives, different perspectives, seek different points of view, consider the reality of the situation, how the decision affects others, the organization and other stakeholders.
Making good decisions starts with the realization that the answer cannot rest with only one person and acknowledging that there are different sides to the story. According to the book of Proverbs 18 v17 in the Bible, “The first to put forth his case seems right, until someone else steps forward and cross-examines him.” In other words, we critically have to evaluate the alternatives before choosing an option, because the worst alternative can appear to be the best and only alternative… until the decision-maker is exposed to other opinions.
Bad decisions are a result of traps in the ability to make decisions. Although there are a number of mental traps that affect our ability to make decisions, the most dangerous trap in decision-making is overconfidence. Overconfidence is not the same as being confident. The dictionary defines confidence as the belief in one’s own ability. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines confidence as ” 1) a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance on one’s circumstances, 2) faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way.
Overconfidence is defined by the online psychology dictionary as ” 1) a condition of over-approximating one’s capacity to perform or under-approximating the capacity of an opponent to perform. 2) An unsupported belief or unrealistically good presumption that a favored result will arise”
Over confidence creates the illusion of being in control and better than others, in the mind of its victim, when faced with ambiguous situations the over confident person perceives themselves in the situation, as better, and the overconfident manager avoids situations that will alter this self perception.
The over confident manager is not a likeable person, they see what they want to see, they cannot learn from past mistakes since they do not think they make any. They make risky decisions that bother on recklessness.
This illusion of control distorts the perception of the mind, they see themselves as the most suitable, even among their peers, and are separate from the reality of the situation in the organization. People can be overconfident and not even realize it. Especially when everyone around tells them only what they want them to hear. The yes men will never say the truth, for fear of upsetting the boss and losing their jobs.
Overconfidence is a trap that leads to poor decisions, which have put many organizations and livelihood in jeopardy. To overcome the trap of overconfidence, managers must explore different alternatives, listen to dissenting opinions in whatever form, encourage subordinates to freely express their views, look at resistance to change as an opportunity to streamline that change, to improve and to ask more questions concerning the change and the organization. Finally, if everyone agrees with you, it is a cause for concern, not a confirmation that you are always right!
- How To Make Better Decisions: A Quick Review of Decisive by Chip Heath & Dan Heath (josedagala.com)
- Decisions, decisions! (theleadersdigest.me)
- Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work Hardcover by Chip Heath (Author) , Dan Heath (Author) (jstamilbookhouse.wordpress.com)
- Whit Wisdom: Make A Decision! (jessicasimien.com)
- Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? (blogs.hbr.org)
- What Type of Decision Maker Are You? (farnamstreetblog.com)
- Belief that Entrepreneurship is risky fosters risky ventures (iterativepath.wordpress.com)