Decision making has been defined as “the process of identifying and selecting a solution from among possible solutions to a problem according to the demands of the situation” (Texas State, n.d., p. 2). The most fundamental aspect of a leader in every institution or an organizational setting is not only his/her ability to make decisions but the quality of his decisions; this, however, does not make it unavoidable for us to make wrong decisions because we tend to apply the least productive approach.
The most conspicuous of this least productive approach is advocacy; advocacy implies the desire of some leaders to view their positions with a lot of passions and hence might lead to them ignoring any opposing or conflicting views. Leaders often downplay the weakness of their positions as a tactic of boosting their probability of winning. This may always be disastrous since it hinders innovation of ideas and it cans also suppress any diverse and valuable viewpoints.
Advocacy can be compared with another approach called inquiry, which is far much more productive approach of decision making. What distinguishes inquiry from advocacy is that inquiry involves weighing several options and it encourages cooperation with others in order to identify the best solutions; this is considered important since it can stimulate innovative thinking unlike advocacy which suppresses our ability to think soberly.
As such, inquiry leads to an enhanced decision which advances the goals of the company and will also facilitate faster realization of decisions in a timely manner and its effective implementation. Inquiry, however, is not easy in application because it requires disagreeing and also allowing ambiguity.
It involves the balancing between divergence at the initiation of decisions and unity during the time of implementation of the decisions (Garvin & Roberto, 2003).
Identifying one’s strengths
Majority of the leaders regard decision making as just an event and a discrete choice that happens once in a time which is a wrong notion. It is good to acknowledge that individuals when propelled by their desire, urge and ambition can rise to top positions of responsibility whenever confronted with such an opportunity.
Identifying one’s strengths is one of the hard tasks that confront all individuals. An individual who is willing to identify his strengths can use an approach referred as the feedback analysis.
According to this approach, an individual should, after making key decisions write down the expected results which should be instrumental in comparing it with the actual results; this is important in the realization of the pattern witnessed from the key comparison; the anticipated results from the decisions so that one can be in position to identify the abilities that might be required to achieve desired results, the unproductive habits that hinders someone from realizing expected results and opportunities for improvement; they will also enable an individual to avoid wasting of time and instead to nurture skills in the field that one at least some capability.
It is assumed that people understand their weakness than their strengths; consequently, there are a lot of people who are wrong than right. It is also assumed that it is wrong to perform only on individuals’ strength than on their weaknesses.
Knowing our strengths is instrumental in our understanding of where we belong and it will enable an individual to put his efforts to where his strengths are. From the feedback analysis, the following are the strengths of an individual leader, the following are my strengths.
First is that I have an ability to mingle and relate virtually with every individual; this has fostered my co-operative nature and my ability to realize my goals when making decisions because I employ consensus to ensure that my decisions are binding.
Having intuitive understanding of technical people; these people might be engineers or accountants or researchers. Having such kind of strength is an implication that a leader will not echo with people who are generalists. Their pragmatic thinking and actions makes them conspicuous for my understanding. My ability to understand this people is always important and necessary in decision making.
The weaknesses that I have are; my inability to tolerate incompetent staff, incompetent staff are an impediment to the realization of company goals. Another weakness that I have is my inability to tolerate individual who keep on repeating mistakes even after being informed, I consider this irritating and can inhibit the effective performance of staff.
Among the ways that leader can improve on his strengths are; first an individual should analyze where he needs to improve and also how to get your hands on new skills. These analyses will enable an individual to fill the spaces in his mind; also an individual should concentrate on the area that he has strength in since it is imperative to production of desired results.
A leader should also determine his intellectual arrogance and identify ways of overcoming them, this has been evident in some circumstances where an individual seem to despise other areas of study. Furthermore, improving one’s strengths is achieved through correction of one’s bad habits or those things that hinder ones effectiveness and delivery.
Individual strengths can be enhanced by comparing the desired results and the actual results. I believe the best way that I can improve on my weaknesses is to embrace tolerance and divergence in opinions.
As to whether an individual is a reader or listener is a significant matter but not all leaders get to identify what they are but just a few. It is assumed that no individual can be both a reader and a listener unless in an exceptional circumstances.
In understanding of whether an individual is a listener, one should analyze his learning capacity, there are those who suffered boredom while at school and they did not understand what they learned, unlike listeners, writers learn by writing and schools do not give them the opportunity. Understanding how an individual learns is important. My quality as a reader has been instrumental in my relationship with other people.
Understanding one’s value is not a question of ethic but of principle and to understand individual values one should use what is called mirror test. Values vary from one individual to another and from one organization to the other. Understanding of one’s values is necessary since it will allow an individual to choose the organization that he would work in, this is because working in organization which is incompatible with one’s value system may amount to frustration and lack of work comfort. From the above analysis of the article, I believe I am a listener since I have the above qualities of a listener and as also exemplified by my academic performance.
The values that I cherish are time, communication, accountability, responsiveness and donating to charity; as such, I require an organization that value donation to charity and the one that esteem standardization of service.
Individuals’ relationship is important; it is approached by first understanding that other people are individuals like my self. My relationship with the boss should be founded on understanding; I should understand whether my boss is listener or a reader.
One’s relationship with the coworkers or peers is also important; this is because each individual works differently and as an employee; I should understand that coworkers are the people I depend on and hence it is imperative to understand their strengths, how they work and what their values are; these are the factors that determine my relationship with coworkers.
Developing a second career
The idea of second career emanated due to the development of knowledge and clerical work which does not result in exhaustion at the late ages of employment when an individual gets bored with his present work and wishes to change career. Developing a career may take three dimensions; the first is initiating one, this may take the form of moving from one organization to another like moving from the position of manager in one organization to that of managing director in another organization.
Another way of developing a second career is through parallel career; a manager, for example, may decide to retire from one organization but chose to remain in the same organization as a consultant.
Last is that people might opt for a second career by virtue of having been social entrepreneurs. This people must have been successfully in their first jobs but they have the feeling that they have actualized.
Managing the second career is always difficult and it is only few who can afford it; most of the people retire. The reasons for getting a second career are that not all individuals would expect to live and work for a very long time without experiencing an impediment. These problems might emanate from social or economic life; also others’ interest in the second career might be due to the hobby syndrome especially for those who have actualized in their present jobs.
With my second career will be to venture into private business, this is because at the later ages of my employment I will have acquired a lot of capital that will be enough for investment. This is due to the fact that at the age of 40, I would want to avoid the formality and pressure that comes with formal employment. My reward from this second career is to donate to charity since my expenditure at that age will have been reduced due to my limited demands (Drucker, 1999).
My decision making process
My decision making process prior to the reading of this article followed the following sequence: first was the identification of the problem; this is instrumental since you will not make a decision without having the problem that will require the decision. The problem is what will require a solution which will come inform of decision.
The second step is looking for solutions; this is the way of solving the problem. There are several ways of solving problem and to arrive at the best decision one must work out a cost benefit analysis in order to arrive at the best alternatives which will solve the problem (Sanders, 1999).
After reading and analyzing the above article, I am now in a position to incorporate the two approaches into my way of decision making; these two approaches are inquiry and advocacy. The matter of debating as learned from the article will be incorporated into decision making. The article has also influenced my decision-making process through its introduction of periodical analysis which has taken different forms.
I would prefer using debate in my decision making model. Debate will enable me to have a lot of options that will enable me to select the best alternative from among the competing alternatives (Garvin & Roberto, 2003).
Decision making is a very important aspect in every organization; the progress and the realization of company objectives can be achieved through the art of decision making. The quality of a leader can be rated according to his ability to make decisions and also the quality of his decisions and as such leaders should be in position to have learned the art of decision making. The art of decision making can take different models that require a leader to choose his model of decision making that can fit the company.
Drucker, P. (1999). Harvard business review; managing oneself, business school publishing. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.
Garvin, D & Roberto, M. (2003). Harvard business review; what u don’t know about making decisions, business school publishing. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.
Sanders, R. (1999). Executive decision making process. New York, NY: Greenwood Publishing Group.
Texas State. (n.d.). Problem solving and decision making. Precious Heart. Retrieved from: http://www.preciousheart.net/chaplaincy/Auditor_Manual/9probslv.pdf