“Decision making is arguably the most important job of a Senior executive and one of the easiest to get wrong”

Decision making may arguably be considered as the single most important job of senior executives however, the said individual who is responsible for such decision making often times failed in his assigned work and thus, produce a disastrous decision that may indeed, ruin the company as well as the person’s career.

The main reason why leaders often times, creates erroneous or prone to failure type of decisions is due to the fact that leaders treats decision making as an event rather than a process that takes time to be formulated in order to achieve a certain goal.  A good leader who makes good decisions recognize that all decisions are processes which they carefully and intentionally design and manage.  On the other hand, a leader who makes bad decisions are usually those types of leaders who maintains that decision making are events that they alone control.  Thus, leaders who sees the decision making process as a process uses the “inquiry approach” in making decisions while those who sees the decision making process as an event uses the “advocacy approach”.

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The two approaches in the decision making process may seem to be similar. However, a closer look in to the two approaches will show that these two are different inasmuch as they produce different results.  According to Garvin and Roberts, the Advocacy approach involves a process whereby participants approach decision making as a contest, although they do not necessarily compete openly and even consciously.  Participants in this type of approach are very passionate about their preferred solution and therefore, stand firm in face of disagreement.  Thus, this type of approach creates a duel whereby participants insist on their chosen solution partly because of their passion and partly because of their egos and personalities.  After all, the goal of a participant in this type of approach is to make a compelling case and not to deliver or convey balanced and evenhanded views.  Upon the other hand, those leaders that make use of the Inquiry approach are those that see the decision making as a very open process designed to generate multiple alternatives, foster exchange of ideas and produce a well-tested solutions. While participants in this type of approach still continue to have their own interests and ideas, the goal is not to persuade the group to adopt a given point of view of one particular person but rather to come to an agreement on the best course of action through shared visions and information.   Thus, instead of suppressing dissensions, an inquiry process encourages critical thinking so that all participants may feel comfortable in raising alternative solutions and asking hard questions about certain possibilities.   Leaders who are engaged in this process rather than advocacy tends to produce decisions of higher quality, those types of decisions that not only adhere and advance to company’s objectives but those also reached in a timely manner which can be effectively implemented. (3).

In the TCRP’s Case Synthesis entitled Corporate Culture as the Driver of Transit Leadership Practice, it was pointed out that “silent or unspoken factors and lack of closure” within the ranks of senior management can lead to false decision making.  These decisions are false because they eventually get undone by things that were unspoken and by inaction.  In an environment where individual do not volunteer their views, particularly views that may run counter to those of the prevailing positions of the larger group, sabotage can possibly occur.  Those who oppose a decision may simply refuse to carry it out.  On the other hand, in situations where there is lack of closure during the decision making process, individuals are left unsure about what to do.  Both scenarios indicate faulty interaction and are indicative of a corporate culture that is prone to faulty decisions.  Thus, in organizations where dialogue is encouraged, information is shared openly, disagreements are brought to the surface and analyzed, a higher quality decision making is more likely.  Dialogue is probably the single most important factor underlying the productivity and growth of knowledge among workers, especially the senior executives or managements.  Reversing the stereotyped culture in decision making therefore, requires leadership that engenders intellectual honesty and trust and that which uses every encounter as an opportunity to model an open, honest and decisive dialogue. (11)

Therefore, if the company wants effective and quality decisions, companies must take into consideration the fact gone are the days when decision making is solely controlled by the senior executives because in such process, errors and failure is more like to come inasmuch as the produced decisions and action plans may not be effectively meet the real requirements of the present times.  It was said that effective leaders motivate people in ways that do not actually concerns improvement of clerical and manual works.  Rather, an effective leader motivates employees to participate in decision making process in order to give them a sense of control and that altruistic feeling that they are an active component of the company to which they belong.   In addition, an effective leader gathers information and feedbacks from his or her subordinates and takes them as key pointers in achieving their company goals.

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