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Steer clear of decision-making traps

Remove the blinders of personal experience, ego

by on
in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers,Performance Reviews

Chief executives often tell us that one of their favorite ways to evaluate managers is to watch how they make decisions. And it’s true: The way people seek out facts, process information and communicate their conclusions reveals much about their poise and leadership.

Just because you’re smart doesn’t mean you’ll make intelligent decisions. Avoid these pitfalls to ensure that you make wise, fair-minded decisions:

Inflating recent experience. A traumatic or otherwise memorable incident can produce lingering side effects. You may figure that the probability of such an event recurring is higher because it’s something you vividly remember.

If you witness a tantrum by a temp, you may decide never to hire temps again. But in truth, such an unusual outburst in no way increases the odds that other temporary workers will behave that way.

Even for routine decisions, the easier you can recall examples or reasons for acting in a certain manner, the more likely you may apply a faulty analysis. When conducting a performance review, for instance, don’t grade an employee based solely on what you’ve noticed in the weeks right before the appraisal. Consider the performance for the entire period covered in the review.

Engaging in “my side” bias. To appear decisive, you may render decisions that ignore facts or common sense. This can occur because you overjustify your beliefs and convince yourself that what you know is definitely right. Beware: This can lead others to conclude behind your back that you’re “almost always wrong, but never in doubt.”

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