Let’s talk about the elephant in the room – indecision

Our latest blog, I hope, becomes a bit of a reflection point for you when you’re having your morning coffee or in that couple of precious moments when you can look at what’s happening in your world at the moment without the phone/email/employees/fire alarms/office ghost interrupting.

It affects us all, most of us are very good at it and generally, it’s only in fairly extreme circumstances where there’s an immediate repercussion.

Let’s take this back a step. Think about the last decision that you knew you needed to make, one that you blatantly put off. Why did you do that? According to studies, indecision is often linked to social anxiety, public self-consciousness and forgetfulness and is independent of intelligence. That may be what the experts equate indecision to, but what about you? I want you to have a think about why you put off making that last major decision? Can you actually come up with a reasonable explanation or was it just that little monster that sits on your shoulder and convinces you to leave it until later?

Now, I can only really talk about the HR implications of indecision with any degree of certainty (outside of my own excellent ability to be indecisive about things in my personal life) but what I can tell you dear reader is that every day I see indecision and with the benefit of hindsight, more often than not the decision makers I’ve been working with always wish that they had made a decision much earlier about something.

From an HR perspective, indecision usually starts in fairly simple forms. It could be that conversation you knew you needed to have but put off for a number of (what are probably quite genuine) reasons. The problem keeps on bubbling away and, before you’ve really had a chance to understand why, the problem has grown and you’re now in a position where you need to do something more formally about it. The solution is fairly straightforward here, but if this had been tackled informally – by having that conversation (that probably slightly difficult conversation that would have been more uncomfortable rather than difficult) then you – as a business leader – would have saved yourself not only time and effort, but you probably could have worked more effectively to deal with the root cause of the issue with your team member.

In my opinion, indecision breeds instability. Your team are looking to you as a strong and decisive leader who will make careful and thoughtful decisions that will be not only timely, but effective. The problem in being indecisive, especially from a HR perspective, is that you run the very real risk of not fixing an issue in the early stages that could have substantial financial impact on your business much further down the line.

So, how do you stop being indecisive? There’s a myriad of tools and advice out there, I want to share just a couple of points I find helpful:

  • Don’t second guess – generally, you will know already what feels like the right (albeit not the most comfortable or easiest) answer.
  • Commit – commit to your decisions and be confident in what you’re doing.
  • Ask for help – find a colleague or trusted advisor to bounce the problem off, role play the conversation or seek advice if they think you’re approaching it from the right place.
  • Be confident – once you’ve made that decision, be confident in undertaking it. If you don’t believe in what you are doing or are about to commit to then you need to rethink it.
  • Believe in yourself – there’s a reason that you are the leader in your business. You can make whatever decisions are necessary, even if they may not be popular.

Now, if you have a decision  you’ve been putting off for a while now, and feel that you need some additional help and support, why not give either myself or one of my Sagegreen HR colleagues a call. We have access to some of the best coaches and mentors in the industry, and can help any business owner become a confident leader. We can also work with you to become a trusted HR Partner to your business and take away some of the burden of having to make all the decisions on your own.


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