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What Are Decision-Making Skills?

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Decision-making skills are the soft skills that you can use to help solve every problem at a company. Whether an employee needs to choose what font is best for a brand logo or what growth marketing tactic to use, making good decisions is crucial to company success. 

So, what are some decision-making skills examples, and how can you improve your decision-making skills? In this guide, we’ll cover:

Decision-Making Skills Definition

Decision-making skills are all of the skills you need to make an informed, rational decision. Someone with good decision-making skills at work can assess all the facts, understand the company’s current state and goal state, and choose the best course of action. 

In the workplace, this can look like:

  • Facilitating a brainstorming session to decide on a new product feature
  • Choosing a candidate to give a job offer to
  • Collecting feedback from team members to ideate a new team workflow
  • Researching market trends to understand how they’ll impact company strategy
  • Networking with an external person to learn how they approach workplace problems at their company
  • Collaborating with a team member who disagrees with you to find a joint solution
  • Identifying a data reporting issue and digging in to remedy it

Decision-Making Skills Examples

Decision-making is about much more than the final result. Numerous types of skills go into decision-making, including analysis, creativity, collaboration, and leadership skills.

Analytical Skills

Analytical skills help you collect and assess information before you make a final decision. An analytical person zooms out on the problem, looks at all the facts, and tries to interpret any patterns or findings they might see. These kinds of skills help you make fact-based decisions using logical thinking.

Creativity Skills

Decision-making isn’t just all facts and figures; it also requires creative thinking to brainstorm solutions that might not be so straightforward or traditional. Creative decision-makers think outside of what’s been done before and develop original ideas and solutions for solving problems. In addition, they’re open-minded and willing to try new things.

Collaboration Skills

Good decisions take into account multiple ideas and perspectives. Collaboration skills help you find a solution by working together with one or more teammates. Involving numerous people in the decision-making process can help bring together different skillsets, exposing you to other problem-solving methods and ways of thinking.

Leadership Skills

While collaboration is often crucial for good decision-making, someone must take the lead and make a final decision. Leadership skills can help you consider all perspectives and decide on a singular solution that best represents your team members’ ideas. 

You don’t need to be a manager to take the lead in decision-making. Even if you don’t have the final say, speaking up and sharing your ideas will not only help you stand out at work but prove you can be an effective leader.

How to Demonstrate Decision-Making Skills in an Interview

Hiring managers will generally ask straightforward interview questions to get you to demonstrate your decision-making skills. 

According to Belinda O’Regan, a global HR and remuneration specialist who has helped create Forage virtual work experience programs, hiring managers will “often use the STAR method of probing for the information they want to check for.” They want you to give a step-by-step account of how you made a critical work decision.

“First, start by explaining the situation and clearly what the decision was that you personally had to make,” O’Regan advises. “Stay away from a time when you were part of a decision. They are interested in when you had to make the decision independently. Then, talk about why the decision had to made. From there, describe the action you took. Be clear on the basis on which you made the decision. Do not just skip to the decision you made but lay out the facts that you used, the people you consulted, the research you did etc. The interviewer wants to see if you make decisions based on actual information or you make them without much thought. End your answer with what the final result was, which hopefully was positive!”

>>>MORE: Practice your interview skills with Comcast’s Unspoken Interview Fundamentals Virtual Experience Program.

How to Improve Decision-Making Skills

Decision-making skills improve as you’re required to make more decisions, but you don’t need to be in a high-stakes work environment to practice these skills. You can even improve your decision-making with exercises like what you’re making for dinner — it’s all about how you slow down, consider the facts, ask for help, and reflect on your decision. 

Start Slow

Making fast decisions is a valuable skill, but you won’t make the best decisions if you move quickly — at first. So start slowly by zooming out and looking at all the factors of your decision-making process. You don’t need only to consider big decisions; things like what outfit to wear or what to do this weekend count too. Next, consider: 

  • What facts are you taking into account? 
  • How many solutions do you come up with? 
  • How do you arrive at your conclusion?

When you break down the decision-making process slowly, you’ll become accustomed to the steps it takes to make an effective decision — which over time and with practice, can help you become a more efficient, faster decision-maker.

Consider the Facts

It’s easy to make decisions based on our assumptions, yet digging deeper and searching for facts is the best way to be an effective, rational decision-maker. Practice taking a step back and assessing the information you have to make a decision. Do you know all of the facts? Are you leaning toward a conclusion because of an assumption? Focusing on the facts is a great way to learn and identify your biases.

Ask for Help

Some decisions can be made alone, but when you ask someone to weigh in, they can help show you perspectives and ways of thinking you might not have previously considered. In addition, this will help expose you to different problem-solving methods that you might not have used before.

Reflect

The best way to get better at decision-making is to reflect on the decisions you’ve already made. Then, in hindsight, you can see where you might have misstepped. Reflecting can help you identify problem patterns within your decision-making and, over time, help you become a better decision-maker. 

>>>MORE: Improve your professional development skills with Cisco’s Career Readiness Virtual Experience Program.

Decision-Making: The Bottom Line

Employers want employees who can help solve their problems, so strong decision-making will always be a valuable workplace skill. Yet it’s not enough to be able to make decisions on the fly; you need to make smart, rational decisions that consider all the facts, understand the company’s resources and goals, and lead to practical solutions.

If you can show off your strong decision-making skills by describing how you’ve made critical decisions at work before, you’ll make it an easy decision for the employer to hire you.

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