I recently took a personality test with a company called Ntrinsix. In this personality test, the company assigns you a personality color. The color assigned to me is orange. Orange means I am impulsive, flexible, adventurous and practical. My primary stressor; the lack of decisiveness.
I have taken several personality tests that didn’t quite fit, but this one hit its mark. Especially when it comes to my stressors. A lack of decisiveness or frequently revisiting decisions is incredibly frustrating. It’s inefficient when people leave with a direction only to get back at a later date to find that your team or leader is unsure about that decision.
Now when I say “revisiting decisions,” I am not talking about analyzing a decision and deciding to pivot or persevere. I’m talking about the times that a decision gets made in one meeting, and questioned unexpectedly at the next. Whether it be because team members/leaders didn’t understand or they simply don’t remember agreeing, revisiting on a frequent basis is incredibly deflating to the people who start rolling with the assumption that there was complete support around the table.
If this happens in your organization, start tracking them now. Take good notes during the decision making process. When a revisit is needed, keep a running tally. This will tell you if you and your team has a problem.
If the results show your team does, in fact, have a problem, it’s time to start addressing the issue. An effective leader should be able to get support out of their team on every decision. However, there are many styles of leadership, and each tend to cater to different strengths. Below are 2 leadership styles I have seen/used and a few tips to help will arriving at the outcome of full understanding and support when leaving the decision table.
The decision maker
In this role, you are the one making the final call. You go around the table you hear everyone’s arguments, and you make the final decision. This gives marching orders to your team and progress can start immediately. If this is your style of leadership here are a few recommendation on how to avoid revisiting every decision.
1) Require Buy-in – Everyone around the table should both understand and support the decision being made. Even if the decision isn’t their first choice, it is important that they support it before leaving the table. You can achieve this by going around the table one by one and asking “John, do you understand and support this decision?”. You need to require a yes from them. If they give you a wishy washy “sure,” then they will more than likely question it after they leave. Make sure they have said everything they need to say and that they can support the decision. This is so critical because a successful team supports one another even when the team member doesn’t get their way.
2) Mine for information – Don’t be the leader who makes the decision and then revisits it himself. If you don’t understand the decision yourself or you need time to think about it, announce it to the table and set yourself or the team a target. It could be as simple as “Let’s sleep on this and come back at 9 tomorrow morning.” or “I need a bit more information, can two of you organize the options pro/cons by next meeting so we can decide then?”. Needing more time or more information is never a bad thing. Just make sure you are clear about when and how you intend on making the decision. Letting decisions linger is an entirely different problem that you do not want
3) Support the decision – If you make a decision find ways to reinforce it to make sure everyone is moving the direction you agreed upon. Hoping it gets done is not a successful strategy. Lead your team on this and help them see it through. Make an action plan immediately following the decision and set a check-in/update for some time in the future.
The decision leader
In this role, you are trying to lead the table to make the final determination. You act as the facilitator of the discussion. You expect the table to agree on the direction and you do this by mining for positive conflict. If this is your style, here are a few tips to help you reduce the amount of revisit
1) Require Attendance – DO NOT hold your meetings when your team is out. I have seen it too often where someone hears about a decision and the first thing they need to do is bring it up as a topic for the next meeting. This causes the leader to ask everyone to hold off on their progress and everything stalls until that member has had their chance to speak. This is inefficient yet common. If this is your preferred style of leadership, this is your #1 critical piece of advice.
2) Require Buyin – Same as above. You are playing the role of the facilitator so make sure everyone understands and supports the decision. If the room is 3 to 1 in support, I promise it will be revisited. Get buy-in and hold them accountable to supporting one another.
3) Give More Time – This process typically takes more time to talk through. If you slot too little time, talking points won’t get hit. Make sure you are allotting enough time to each discussion point and never cutting it off prematurely. If someone remembers something they didn’t have the chance to say, they will say it next time. I guarantee it.
Revisits will happen. However, if they happen too often, the biggest loss you will see besides efficiency is moral. With some proper planning and practice, these can be reduced in the future. Of the two leadership styles above I personally use and recommend the style of the decision maker. I find that to be the most efficient style and I rarely get revisits on the team I run. It requires a solid basis of trust, but that’s what being a leader is all about.
I hope this helps you reduce your revisit problems. If you have any tips or perhaps different leadership styles you would like to share, please leave them in the comments below. I look forward to hearing from you!
Training Link: http://ntrinsx.com/
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