016: Decision making to up-level your leadership

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Do you ever feel like you are drowning in decisions. Demanded to choose between things minute to minute, hour to hour? By the end of the working day are you so done from decision making that you can barely handle choosing what to do about dinner?

The job of a leader, is above all, making and communicating decisions. Providing clarity on focus, direction and exchanging information. Reviewing data, and making informed decisions based on it. Evaluating alternatives. Prepping plans and their alternatives for critical analysis and escalation.

Decision making just intensifies as we progress in our careers.

But the one thing we don’t realise needs to change is how we make decisions. Moving from the action-based decision making in our first management roles to more strategic decision making as an executive. And what got you to where you are now, won’t just fail to get you further but could be damaging your reputation right now if you aren’t adapting to the needs of the decision-making required of you in your current role.

So what can you do? In today’s episode of the podcast I’m diving into how do you get out from under the weight of these decisions, avoid the ‘you aren’t communicating well’ spoken or unspoken criticism that is often a symptom of decision burnout and learn how to level up your decision making alongside your other leadership skills.

Ready? Let’s go to the show!

Show Notes

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Want to read instead of listen? Here’s the transcript:

It’s another Tuesday, if you’re listening when we drop. How are you doing? How is your week? How is your October, if you’re in October listening to me as we land? How is your month going? How are you feeling about Q4 in probably one of the strangest years most of us have ever experienced in our professional careers? I’d love to know how you’re getting on, how you’re coping. As always, feel free to drop me a DM on Instagram, on Facebook, or send me a message in LinkedIn. Or of course, send me an email to [email protected]. I love to hear how all of you are doing, and I make an effort to still reply personally to each and every one of your questions. So far, I’m still able to do that in this business, so take advantage of it while you can.

What else is going on around here? Well, as I mentioned last week, there is a mini course coming your way very, very soon now, all about imposter syndrome. It’s completely free, and my goal here is to up-level you, overcome those four feelings, enjoy greater motivation, productivity, and effectiveness, and have tools and practice to build knowledge, compassion and understanding of the confidence issues that your team might be experiencing. So this isn’t just imposter syndrome for you as an individual. It’s about imposter syndrome in those that you manage, and sometimes how that can show up in the oddest ways, such as defensiveness or not a great attitude. Sometimes that’s imposter syndrome.

So if you would love to get your hands on that when it’s available, go ahead and register for on the wait list and you’ll get it as soon as it’s available. It’s completely free. Just go [email protected]/impostersyndrome. And you can also get the link to that in the show notes in your favorite podcast player, or go to tonicollis.com/episode16 for the full show notes.

But let’s crack on with today’s episode on decision-making. Decisions are the thing that routinely get stalled in an organization. They halt progress. Perhaps you’ve experienced this firsthand. You send an email, you aren’t able to make decision on something, you’ve escalated it, and you’re waiting for a response. There’s no progress. Do you chase it? You know that sometimes when you chase these things, it goes well, other times not so much. It depends on the person. It depends on the day of the week. It depends how they’re feeling. What do you do?

Sometimes the person making those decisions is in this uncertainty zone. They don’t know how to make the decisions and they feel in this place of overwhelm. Perhaps they have too many decisions to make every day and they haven’t learnt how to handle that, how to delegate that. It’s really easy to spot in others. But what about when it’s happening to you? That’s a lot less easy to spot. And that’s what we’re going to be talking about today, is what goes wrong when our decision-making goes wrong and how we can find out that our decision-making isn’t up to scratch, because all too often, we don’t realize until it’s far too late and the damage has already been done.

And I want you to notice when your decision-making isn’t functioning fully way before it becomes a problem for you. Because here’s the thing. I’m yet to meet somebody who hasn’t, at some point, struggled with decision-making. All of us do. We’re so overwhelmed with decisions every single day, even just in our personal lives, from what to wear in the morning… Yes, Mark Zuckerberg has a thing here. He chooses to wear the same thing every day, for good reason. It’s a decision that has to be made. To what to cook for dinner. That’s my classic. I can tell when I’ve had a hard day on decision-making. I might not have done many hours, but if I’ve made a lot of decisions, I struggle to choose what to make for dinner. And I haven’t yet figured out how to convince myself to do meal planning. If anybody wants to tell me how to do meal planning in a way that isn’t going to feel really uncomfortable, I would love to know. Drop me an email.

Because decision making is exhausting, and it piles up. Whether it’s personal or professional, it piles up through the day, and you have a limited resource. I’ve talked about this before. Decision-making is a limited resource. There’s a bucket that fills up overnight, especially if you have a good night’s sleep. If you don’t have a good night’s sleep, it doesn’t fill up fully or at all, which means you don’t make any good decisions, or you just don’t make decisions the next day.

But in general, a good night’s sleep, some downtime, your decision-making bucket fills up overnight. You start the day. It’s full. By the end of the day, it’s depleted. If you reach lunchtime and you’ve already done everything, you can… Bigger decisions take more of that decision-making resource, by the way. If you get to lunchtime and it’s all gone, you’re done. You aren’t going to make decisions. Or if you try to, they’re going to be poor decisions.

There’s the classic study, which I can’t remember where it’s from, but it’s something to do with releasing prisoners on probation, where the default is not to release them. I think it’s an Israel. I should have looked this up before I did today’s podcast, but it wasn’t going to talk about this. But there’s a study that was done that shows that deciding whether or not to release a prisoner on probation, they’re more likely to be released before lunchtime than after lunchtime. After lunchtime, the default response kicks in, which is to not release them. Decision-making really is a finite resource.

Okay, so we know that decision making is finite. We know that we get stuck on decision-making. The classic one I see a lot of the time is deciding to invest in themselves. I see this one a lot because of the coaching. Somebody decides they really want coaching, they come and talk to me, and then they’re about to hit go when they freeze. We freeze in the uncertainty zone because it’s a big decision.

Now I see that playing out in those conversations. But I also see it playing out in my clients in the actual work that they’re doing. So obviously once they’ve decided to invest, they’re then talking to me about their professional career and how they’re making decisions. Whether they’re an entrepreneur or a CEO, or they’re just on the way to the corporate C-suite VP director level in a corporation, we all struggle with decisions. I want you to know that it’s a thing that we all struggle with from time to time.

So let’s talk about how decision-making evolves over your career. Well, when we are a new manager, we’re just starting on our leadership career, this low-level stuff. The focus is on getting stuff out the door, whether it’s products, services, stuff. Action is the premium thing here. Not long-term strategic decision making, but decision-making that is action based. What can we do to solve this immediate problem and get this out the door? That is the focus. That is a decision-making skill that’s based on immediate pressure, but quite clearly defined outcomes, principles… There isn’t an awful lot of deep thinking required in this one. That makes it sound trivial. It’s not trivial. If this is the first time you’ve done it, you can have hundreds of these decisions to make every day and that quickly adds up.

But generally speaking, there is a clear outline to the information you need in order to make that decision. And once you have that information, the decision can be made or it’s escalated, at which point it out of your hands. So it’s very much, at that entry level, focused on getting stuff out the door. Now, as we rise up, that changes, and the mistake people make is they’ll do so well at that level, they get promoted, and then they still… Because they use that same decision-making approach, when actually your decision-making becomes more strategic on longer-term development plans, what services and products to offer. It’s a lot more long-term thinking. It’s a lot more holistic and it needs a different decision-making skill. It’s less clear when it needs to be escalated.

Now, great leaders make it very clear where you should escalate and where you shouldn’t. Again, something that I advocate with everybody I work with is: be that leader who makes it really clear when your team needs to escalate to you and when they have the ability to make decisions for themselves. It’s really empowering for your team, and it frees up so much time for you as a leader and so much decision-making resource. If your team can be making decisions because you’ve given them clarity on where they’re able to, you aren’t making those decisions. They know how to make them. You know that you’re going to back them up because you’ve made it clear how they should make them. So you’re behind them and they know that, and it gives you time for that more senior decision-making responsibility.

The problem comes when you’ve freed yourself up in that way, but then you are still applying that same decision-making policy that you had at that lower level to these more senior decisions. And that’s where I see a lot of people get unstuck. You need to learn new skills to adapt to the pressures of that senior decision-making. I’ve seen in my executive coaching that decision-making like a full-fledged senior executive too soon can turn a middle manager off track immediately. It’s destructive for a first-line supervisor to act as if they’re in the C-suite, in the same way that it’s destructive for an executive to act in the decision-making manner that’s of a first-line supervisor. So it works both ways. What got you to where you are now might not be sufficient, and it definitely won’t be sufficient to get you to that next level.

So to get you back on track, you need to recognize that you fail to let go of old habits, and learn how to jump into that more senior mode. Remember, there’s always a trade-off with decision-making. You can hold off until you have all the information, make the very best decision… You could hold off indefinitely. But the problem is that stalls progress and can be really damaging, but can make an amazing decision. But there’s no point in making an amazing decision if it’s a month late, a week late, even an hour late sometimes is really damaging.

So you have this trade-off between making a decision ASAP with the information available, or holding off until we have all possible information, which by the way, you’re never going to know everything. These are two extremes, and part of the skill that needs to be developed here is one, recognizing those two extremes exist, two, weighing up where you need to be between those two extremes, and realizing by the way, those two extremes and where you need to be shifts depending on the decision in front of you. Number three, where you are right now, so are you one end or the other end, and where do you need to be? Number four, how to move towards where you need to be in that decision-making spectrum as swiftly as possible. That’s a mistake a lot of people make. And number five, actually making the decision.

But we’re not done there, because number six is being okay with returning to the decision if you need to based on new evidence. That is something that trips up so many people. I have seen CEOs tripped up by this one. They make a decision and it’s just what it is, and they just double down over and over again, even based on new information that says that was a bad decision. It doesn’t work. We have new evidence to apply. We see it as playing out a lot in politics, but it plays out in the C-suite too. Be okay with returning to a decision you need to make.

So that’s the understanding you need, how to go between those two extremes and where you are right now, and being okay with changing your decision. When you realize it’s okay to change your decision based on new evidence, it becomes a whole lot easier to make the decision and move on and get on with a job. When we feel that I’m going to beat myself up if I make this decision and it’s the wrong decision, or the world will end if I make the wrong decision, when we enter that, we fail in our ability to actually make the decision, because we’re so scared of a negative outcome. You have to let go of that. That is going to kill not just your career, but your passion for what you do. And it leads to that inevitable burnout. And by the way, a lot of the time that comes partly from imposter syndrome.

So if that feels like you, go and register for that mini course. Unintentional segway there. Go to tonicollis.com/impostersyndrome and get yourself on the wait list for that free mini course. Really important.

So, as I mentioned, as our leadership evolves and we take on more responsibilities. So does our decision making approach. It’s easy as you move up the career ladder to have less and less knowledge of the day-to-day, the stuff that people are doing on the shop floor or on their laptops. The people actually doing the development work. You’re so far removed from that, the further up you go, you make decisions based on incorrect or out-of-date assumptions. I’ve seen so many people say, “Well, that’s not how I did it.” Yeah, because it’s 20 years since you last did that.

The further and further away you get from the action, the harder it is to make action-based decisions. You should be delegating those down to those first-time managers who’ve just been there. They’re able to do that and listen and be well-informed. Alternatively, if you have a very flat organization, you need to make sure that you’re getting the information in order to make those decisions if you’re not able to delegate for whatever reason. I would argue that we should all be delegating decision-making more, but that’s slightly off-topic there.

It’s essential to use a leadership style that keeps the information pipeline open. You need to have free-flowing information, upwards and downwards. Communication is, after all, your number one leadership trait, because to make good decisions, you need the best information ready for your decision-making and analysis. If you don’t have that open pipeline, you don’t have free communication, people are afraid to tell you things, or there’s no conduit for collecting and analyzing information or there’s repercussions when people share things with you, then you aren’t going to have the information you need in order to make good decisions.

I have seen far too many organizations really stall because of this toxic behavior at the top, where there’s this attitude of, “If you get me on a bad day of the week, I’m going to lash out at you.” There are so many bad things about that. One of them is that people don’t share all the information that you need in order to make decisions, and you don’t even know that you don’t have all that data. And so you either fail to make decisions or you make poor decisions because you don’t have that free flow of information. If you’re the entry level in your career, you need swift decision-making. But as you become more senior, you need adaptability and frame your decisions based on strategic decision-making and the few points that you need of that business landscape.

There is an HBR article by Kenneth Brousseau et al. that really talks about decision making frameworks, hierarchic, integrative, decisive decision-making, and all the different ways that these apply to the different levels of leaders. So I just want to give you a quick overview of that, because the decisive, quick decision-making comes in irrespective of needs and outcome. That’s really useful early on. Also hierarchic, where you make decisions focused on gathering data, but not rushing to judgment. Those work really well early on, where you are going to make all of the decisions pretty much. You’re not really delegating decision-making. Both have value, but they do not account for the fact that being a long way away from the action means that you won’t make the best decision. So those work really well early on in your leadership career.

But as you progress, those won’t work any more. Great decision-makers need to value, honesty, integrity, and loyalty, things that apply at every level of your career. But as you approach your executive levels, you have to be aware of the need for continual adjustment. You have to be aware of the need for a more integrative decision-making framework. Focusing too much on the need for swift, sensible decision-making as you progress unsticks you. You’re taking on far too many responsibilities. Because your time is more precious, you cannot make all those small swift decisions. Indeed, if you’re being asked to make those, you aren’t doing the job that you think you should be doing. You need to be delegating those swift, small decisions to the people below you, to the leaders that report to you, and focus on those more long-term holistic strategic decisions.

This is really, really important. And I see so many people really get unstuck when they get promoted and they insist on continuing what they’re in the process that they did before. Not just continuing in the sense of the same framework for making decisions, but holding on to those previous decisions. I’ve talked before about managing at the right level and not holding on to doing the day-to-day tasks, such as coding or engineering, that got you to where you are now, because you’re actually doing a disservice to those people that you’re now managing. That isn’t what you now bring as value. Your value now is as a leader, not as somebody who contributes to the nitty-gritty of the engineering. And this couldn’t be more true in terms of the decision-making.

If you’re still making the kind of decisions that you made in your previous role, you are doing a disservice to the people that now report to you. They should be making those decisions now. You’ve been promoted, you are in a higher-level position. You need to be making the next-level decisions and delegating to them the decisions you were making, including the framework on how to make those decisions, and when they need to escalate to you.

If they don’t have clarity on how to make them, or when they should escalate, they aren’t going to do a job, and they’ll do one of two things. They’ll either make decisions that you didn’t want them to be making and make them badly, and then you have to deal with the fallout from that, or they won’t make any decisions at all and escalate everything to you. Worst case scenario, this becomes a toxic relationship that they then exit from.

So have a good look. Where are you? And are you still trying to behave the way you were in your previous role? Remember that success requires continual adjustment of every single process that you were doing as a leader. As your career progresses, you need to adjust upwards. The least successful leaders stagnate once they hit what’s referred to as a convergence zone. Their style remains clustered rather than involving. If you find yourself just resisting change and moving up in the way you are behaving, you’ve hit that convergence zone. And the best way to get unstuck, get yourself a coach who can call you out kindly and lovingly, but call you out on this behavior.

It’s natural to keep doing things the way they worked well for you previously, but as I keep saying, what got you to where you are now won’t necessarily get you any further. I know it’s scary to make decisions. I am scared to make the wrong decisions too, but in the moment you are making the very best decision you can with the knowledge you have. And if you don’t like the decision in the future, it’s okay to change it. I cannot say that enough. Based on your evidence, you can change your decision. So make a decision and move on.

That is a really good tactic for actually minimizing how much of that decision-making resource you use. Evaluate where you are on the decision-making spectrum, from, “I need to make an instant decision right now,” to, “I need lots of data.” Where do you need to be for this level of decision, for the risk associated with it, all that sort of information. Decide where you should be, and then make the very best decision you can based on where you should be on that spectrum with the knowledge you have, and then move on. I’ve seen too many careers stall because of indecision. They don’t move forward. They live in a fear of making the wrong decision. I do not want that for you. Give yourself permission to make decisions and stop blaming yourself. Get out of the guilt game. Who has time for that, right? So let’s get out of the guilt game.

Okay, so what can you do to really accelerate your decision-making? Realize that although there are important things to do every day, that many of them don’t need to be resolved immediately. This is something that all too often really damages progress as we elevate. There are going to be a hundred things coming into your inbox every single day. I remember when I was working in corporate, I literally had a thousand emails every day, sometimes a lot more. What I had to realize, and what I now help a lot of my clients who’ve recently up-leveled realize for themselves, is just because all these things are landing in your inbox doesn’t mean they need to be resolved immediately. And then you need to figure out what needs your time, what needs to have information collected, and then seriously consider your choices.

This can be in sharp contrast to previous jobs, where it’s all about making decisions on the spot. I’m clicking my fingers here, which you obviously can’t see. Just recognize the difference between the need to make immediate decisions on the spot, which you did previously. And the fact that you can take your time now, because that’s actually necessary, can really help ease the stress and also help you prioritize those decisions. A lot of the time, those thousands of emails that you may be getting, a whole load of them can be dealt with if you figure out the one thread to unpull, and then the others all fall out. And that’s a huge part of up-leveling. You’re always going to get more requests. It’s figuring out how to triage them effectively so that you do one thing that makes everything else easier.

What else can you do? Well, develop your integrative decision-making. Think creatively and float a range of ideas to be passed upstairs for consideration. This is really important. Early on in your leadership career, you should have had great clarity on where you can make decisions and where you can’t, and when you need to pass the decision upstairs. As you accelerate in your career, as you move up, what you actually want to be doing is pass the ideas and options up with the evaluation associated with them. You should maybe already have clarity in which decision you may think is best, but you aren’t able to make that decision because your boss has made it clear that’s out of your purview. That’s totally cool. But that’s one of the differences you don’t just pass the decision upstairs. You pass the options upstairs.

Thirdly, you need to narrow down your choices and commit people and resources to particular plans. This is one of the big differences. Before it was like, what can I do? There’s only a limited number of options. They all have similar resources. Now, as you’re up-leveling, you’re actually evaluating plans rather than just very, very narrow options. Ultimately, you are responsible for not just your decisions, but also the decisions of the people that report to you, which is why a lot of new leaders really struggle with delegating decision-making downwards, because they know that they’re responsible for poor decisions. But you need to get comfortable with it and make it clear how those can be made. You need to be able to call the shots and in rare instances, call them on the spot. But more often than not, you’re just narrowing down choices and getting information so you can make informed decisions.

Beyond director level, the pressure to think in an exploratory and creative way drops off. You instead need to be focused on success planning. You must narrow down choices, commit people and resources to very particular plans, and escalate when appropriate. And that’s something that many of us don’t do as we move up and where a lot of people stall in their career.

Okay. So I outlined how to up-level, but how can you identify when you are stalling? Because a lot of the time I have seen people who are doing really well, and then they stall and they don’t know they’re stalling. So I’m going to give you a couple of examples. The first one is when you have tense relationships and little co-operation in your team. So I’m going to talk about this, because you might have seen this in other people. And I want you to have a think about whether or not you’re seeing this as a reflection on yourself.

So when you aren’t permitting decision-making without first consulting everything through you, large and small, you end up having a real conflict with the need for teamwork, team spirit. If you insist on everything being escalated to you, people start leaving, you start having real communication issues and everybody starts behaving differently to you. Ultimately, people might start leaving, and it won’t just be one person. It will be a lot of unhappy people. This may show up in a performance evaluation if you’ve ever had a 360 review. It will come about as somebody who’s not a team player, or people will have a 360 report that says they’re great at problem-solving and logistics, but really poor at managing relationships and communication.

That relationships and communication issue is the red flag you need to be looking for if this is you, if you had a 360 and this came up, because what it probably means is that you have a very high affinity for the need for hierarchic decision-making, swift decision-making, everything coming to you. And you’re probably feeling a bit burnt out and pressured for all the decisions. And you probably have a low score on the need for integrative and adaptive decision-making. So if you are finding there’s tense relationships and little co-operation, have a think about how people are interacting with you. It might be your decision-making principles that are the problem.

The other example is when you behave differently in public to private. You might have that beautiful executive, flexible and integrative leadership style in public. You ask for inputs in meetings. But then in private, you take home that less integrative, less co-operative decision-making and you just denounce things. We’ve all worked for one of those people, right? One of those managers who just announces by email this big decision, even though you all had a meeting where you could have sworn you came to a different conclusion.

That is really damaging. And it’s because you aren’t actually comfortable with the need for that executive, flexible decision-making that is what sets apart those senior leaders from those lower-level leaders. Yes, you want buy-in. Yes, sometimes you have to make hard calls, but if you’re doing it differently in person to behind the scenes, you have a different public to private decision-making front, it’s really damaging to respect, to loyalty, to all the great things that make a community of people that creates a company working really well.

Remember, you need to learn how to become open and participative in public decision-making, and then take that to your private decision-making. If you find yourself sharing successes that are all about prevailing over your peers and winning at the expense of others, instead of working with your colleagues to overcome huge challenges; if you find yourself admitting in private that actually the thing you’re really proud of is winning at the expense of others rather than working with your team to where I’ve come challenges; then you probably have a different private decision-making style than you do public.

Get honest with yourself there. I’m not saying that you’re a terrible human being, but I do want you to be honest with yourself if there’s some part of you that’s like, “Yay, I got one over on that person.” What can you do if you are seeing this happening or you’re unsure? Well, honestly, you need somebody to call you out. See where your blinders are. Classic, of course it’s coaching. That’s what I would advocate for 360 reviews, gathering genuine feedback, which is the leadership mindset moment I’m going to talk about in a moment. But you really need someone to help you see where you’re blind here, see what you’re missing out on, because we all have blinkers. It’s normal. It’s a human trait. None of us like to be called out on what we don’t like to see in ourselves. But a great leader has great self-awareness.

And the second thing you need to do is be willing to change. I’ve had a number of people I’ve worked with, I’ve worked with organizations and I’ve gone in, I’ve shown them what’s going wrong. They may admit it, but then they’re not willing to change. You need to both see it, admit it, and then be willing to take action. That’s really, really important if you want to up-level.

Okay. Before we move on to today, the leadership mindset moment, just to note that if you are interested in getting this help, if you want somebody to lovingly call you out on what’s holding you back in your leadership, then I’m currently not taking your clients to start working with me immediately. But I do have one spot left on my wait list, then I will be closing my wait list for the rest of the year. Yes, I will. So if you would like somebody to call you out on this, help you accelerate your career, get ahead in your leadership, I would love to hear from you. Head to tonicollis.com/workwithtoni to find out more. I’ll pop the link in the show notes, which is available in your podcast player or head over to tonicollis.com/episode16.

But let’s finish up with a leadership mindset moment. In case you’re new around here, a leadership mindset moment is an actionable tip to help you up-level more on the topic of today’s podcast. That’s it. Nothing more sinister, nothing more serious than that. It’s really leaning into today’s podcast.

So the biggest barrier to improving your decision-making is seeing that you have a problem, right? It’s all well and good me telling you all this, but if you aren’t aware of where you’re going wrong, how can you take action? And this is really hard. None of us like to see uncomfortable truths about ourselves. So what can you do? Well, obviously, get a coach, but I’m assuming that either you’ve got one or that you aren’t able to get one right now. So what else can you do?

Well, it’s time to look for some red flags. There’s two in particular I want you to have a look out for. Are you having communication problems with your team? Do you feel frustrated? Are they just not paying attention to you? That’s number one to look for. There are lots of things that might be going wrong with your communication, but quite often, poor communication is a symptom of something else, and one of the big ones is decision-making at the wrong level.

The second thing to look out for is that your staff will always fight back and appear frustrated. Now you might have one person doing this. That isn’t necessarily a big red flag, though I would always ask yourself why that’s going on. Always challenge your assumptions. That’s a big one I do with all of my clients. When they tell me a frustrating situation, I’m like, “Well, I can think of three other ways to interpret that.” You don’t know everything, and that’s okay. So we’ve got to challenge our assumptions. So have a look for staff who fight back and appear frustrated with you, and particularly if it’s more than one, you’ve probably got a problem.

So once you’ve identified the red flag, have a genuine conversation and be open to feedback with that person. I know that’s not always possible, but if you can, go into a conversation, ask for genuine feedback. But really, really importantly, I want you to not be defensive. This is genuinely hard. It’s so hard when you’re like, “But really, how can you not see that I’m the one that in the right here?” We all feel that way. I get that. I’m so like that too, by the way. But when I’m asking for genuine feedback, I make a conscious effort to just take notes and not give my retort. It’s really hard to do, but this is how you get honest feedback. If you’re always coming back with something, this won’t work. So have genuine conversations and hold back on that defensiveness.

Are you just not being viewed as the senior leader you either think you currently are or that you want to be? Are you being told that, “Yeah, yeah, we’ll get to you,” but it’s just not happening? It might be that they’re seeing something wrong with your decision-making, that you’re not showing that executive style of decision-making. Sometimes that will be labeled executive presence. This is one part of that whole big thing. But have a good look at, are you just not being viewed as the senior leader you think you should be viewed being viewed as? If so, go back and get some honest feedback. If all that doesn’t work, it’s time to look for anonymous feedback or get a 360 review.

Now 360 reviews come with a health warning in that they very quickly turn into a “We don’t like you” kind of thing. Whenever I do these with my clients, I’m very careful to remove anything that’s really just not fair, which is a hard thing to do if I’m not in the organization, which I’m generally not. But so do take these with a pinch of salt, but sometimes anonymous feedback or 360 reviews are very, very powerful for helping identify what’s really going on. And then remember that when somebody says poor communication, it isn’t the whole story. It’s potentially something else. Poor communication is the symptom, not the actual issue. Remember, defensiveness isn’t going to help you here. You need to be open to feedback to really take action.

Okay, I hope that was a good insight there into how to improve your decision-making, how to get feedback on your decision making and how to start up-leveling. That’s it for today’s episode. If you would like some help up-leveling, don’t forget to head over to tonicollis.com/workwithtoni and grab that one spot left on my wait list. But if you want to find out more about today’s episode, head over to your favorite podcast player for the show notes, or to tonicollis.com/episode16. Until next time, remember to stay on your tech leadership game, follow your dreams, because the world really does need that uniqueness that you bring as a leading woman in tech.


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