Good managers need to embody a variety of business skills. They need to be good communicators, good problem solvers and good team players. They also need to make difficult business decisions on a regular basis.

So how do managers go about the decision making process?

Some trust their gut instinct. Others deal with indecisiveness and spend weeks mired in statistics and paperwork getting nowhere. A combination of the two is probably the best approach.

Here are a few tips for making effective business decisions as a manager:

1. Do Your Research.

In order to make good business decisions, you need to do your research.

Seek out business data that supports your course of action. Consider short and long term business goals and how your decision plays a part in them. You may need to gather data from across different departments in order to build a full picture of the current state of your business.

You should also create projections as to the possible effects of your decision. What are the risks and opportunities likely to be?

At the end of the day, however, no decision comes without risk. You just need to be as informed as possible when taking that leap of faith.

2. Don’t Put Things Off.

President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

Sticking your head in the sand and putting off a difficult work-related decision won’t do anyone any favors. You need to take the bull by the horns and confront the issues facing you in order to keep the business moving forward.

Take breaks from thinking about your decision in order to see things more clearly. But don’t leave it sitting in your to-do pile for weeks on end.

3. Consult With Your Team.

As a manager, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you should have all the answers. But working unilaterally can be counterproductive.

Seeking input and advice from your team isn’t a sign of weakness. Two heads are better than one.

A whole team of people could help you to look at a particular issue from a variety of perspectives.

Ultimately the buck stops with you but consulting with your team is good for morale. It demonstrates a transparent management style and could help you make a more effective decision.

4. Track Results.

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As you make your decision, you should have a clear idea of how you plan to track the results produced, be they positive or negative.

Could your decision have an impact on sales, or employee retention or the number of customer complaints?

Identify statistics and parameters that will help you understand the consequences of your decision. For this reason, it’s a good idea to implement new, big business decisions. one at a time so you can more easily isolate cause and effect.

5. Learn from Mistakes.

Making effective decisions doesn’t mean always getting it right. Even with a thorough analysis of pros, cons and alternatives, you will sometimes get it wrong.

Being a good manager means being prepared to deal with the consequences no matter how the dice fall. It also means holding your hands up and learning from your mistakes. That way you go into your next decision with more experience and more confidence.

Making business decisions is part and parcel of being a manager.

As your experience in the role grows, so will your ability to make effective decisions. Approach things from different angles, gather your data and trust that, whatever the outcome, you have the management and business skills to deal with it.

About The Author

This post was written by Tess Pajaron, who currently works at Open Colleges, Australia’s leading online educator.