PMTimes_July27_2022

Cultivating Confident Decision Making as a Project Manager

An indecisive project manager is the last thing a company needs. Decision making is critical to project success. If you can’t make decisions with conviction, your team and the success of your projects are in serious jeopardy.

Project managers need swift and confident decision-making skills to do their best work. But how do you cultivate these skills if they’re lacking?

 

Work on Your Relationship With Yourself

How well we do at work depends greatly on our relationship with ourselves. It’s difficult to think your work is worthy when you don’t believe in yourself. In this case, when you aren’t confident in yourself, it’s nearly impossible to make project management decisions you stand behind.

To be the best project manager you can be and be decisive in your role, you must work on your relationship with yourself. Don’t neglect the importance of feeling good inside.

Spend more time doing things that make you feel most you. Take on challenges and step out of your comfort zone often. Grow your confidence outside of work, and it will begin to be at the forefront of every decision you make at work.

 

Experiment With Different Decision-Making Methods

Experimentation is also instrumental in cultivating confident decision-making as a project manager, mainly experimenting with different decision-making methods. Relying on one way to make decisions won’t do you any good in a role where rapid change is the norm.

On the other hand, the ability to use different decision-making techniques and apply them effectively to drive your projects forward is wise. Here are a few decision-making methods to get you started:

  • Consensus Approach — the entire team discusses their ideas and solutions, and you make a final decision as a group.
  • The Vroom-Yetton decision model — the situation dictates the best way to move forward as a leader and with a decision.
  • Kepner-Tregoe Matrix — identify a specific goal, weigh different solutions to that goal, and pick the best solution out of those discussed.

 

Lean into Data-Driven Decision-Making

As crucial as trusting your gut is to grow confident in your decision-making, you shouldn’t rely on it alone. Using data to back the decisions you move forward with can help you feel much more confident in them.

For example, let’s say you’re faced with a decision about adjusting marketing messaging to enhance the customer experience. In that case, you could analyze data about the customer journey to see which marketing messages are responsible for driving the most conversions. Then, you can tweak the messages that aren’t working to mirror those that are.

Get comfortable with data and use it to drive your project management decisions. When you combine data with your hunch, you’ve got something powerful that can prompt insightful decision-making that produces results. And getting results will help boost your confidence, making it even easiest to make decisions in the future.

 

Think Short-Term and Long-Term

Many project managers think about either short-term or long-term outcomes, but rarely both. As a result, they don’t make the best decision for the situation, adversely affecting the entire project. They may also become continually less confident in their choices, the more they encounter these kinds of situations.

Do the opposite and analyze both. First, take some time to think about each decision’s potential short-term effects. Then, weigh possible long-term effects. Equally consider the potential consequences of both before moving forward with a permanent decision.

 

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Look at Failure Differently

In role your, you need to make many decisions each day. As much as you want to make the right decision every time without hesitation, that just isn’t realistic. Failure is inevitable in this line of work, whether due to changing circumstances or simply making the wrong choice (even if you were sure it was right). To succeed as a project manager, you must become comfortable with this fact.

The best way to become comfortable with things not going well is to look at failure differently. Embrace moments of failure as learning opportunities. The more you learn from mistakes, the better decisions you can make in the future, and the more confident you can become. Don’t beat yourself up when things don’t go right. Instead, learn from failure and build on it.

 

Celebrate Wins

Failures will happen, but so will successes, both big and small.

If you want to cultivate confident decision-making, you must celebrate decisions that led to wins as much as you learn from what didn’t work. As you see your decision-making produce excellent results, you can start to grow your confidence moving forward.

Celebrate your decision-making wins. Reflect on decisions you made that produced the positive results you hoped for, as well as ones with unexpectedly positive results. Also, praise the decisions you thought wouldn’t end well but ended up being critical to the success of a project.

 

Give Yourself Time

If you start working on being more confident with your decision-making today, you won’t be the most confident decisionmaker tomorrow. In other words, it takes time to grow confidence. Allow yourself that time. There will be peaks and valleys in your journey to trusting and believing in yourself wholeheartedly. Enter them all with grace and understanding.

 

Conclusion

There’s no place for indecision in project management. You’ll slow your team’s workflow, potentially prevent a project’s success, and ruin your confidence with negative results. Use the tips above to cultivate confident decision-making and become a better project manager.