The ability to work with others in order to find optimal solutions to various problems
WHAT IS IT?
Shared decision making involves using logic or reason to evaluate various ideas or concepts. Furthermore, this analysis happens within a team; and members work together to draw conclusions. Effectively leading such an effort requires the ability to weigh the merits of individual ideas and productively extract information, ideas, and opinions from others. Leaders with shared decision making skills are can hear the best ideas in the room, think with confidence, and model the way for a group conversation and decision.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Any organization or project is only a few bad decisions away from decline or failure. Every major decision must be analyzed and thought out. When multiple parties have opinions and especially when more than one group will be affected by the outcome, taking into consideration the suggestions of others is imperative. Leaders with skills in this area are invaluable. Thinking clearly, listening to multiple opinions, and making reasonable decisions are hallmarks of a great leader.
- Define the Ideal Outcome
Before making any decisions, we must identify the characteristics of our desired result. For example, when considering who is going to draft a petition, we might say the petition needs to be 1) easily understood by multiple parties 2) drafted in more than one language and 3) done quickly. Each of those three criteria can be defined in detail and then used to evaluate all options. Many people leave out this step in the decision making process thinking that the criteria are obvious and can go unstated. They usually can’t.
- Identify Strengths and Weaknesses
The various options that are being considered need to be critically and explicitly evaluated. In particular, each option needs to be directly identified and vetted with a cost benefit analysis. Collectively lead the effort to organize a written list of the pros and cons for each of the possible solutions in order help your team identify the best option.
- Get Input from Others
Many of us think that leaders have to bear the full responsibility of making decisions. While that is sometimes true, leaders can still benefit from getting input from as many people as possible. Colleagues, friends, or other participants may have been in a similar situation and could give you great insight. Asking people for their perspective can help us see things that we may have overlooked. When you do ask, listen closely to what the other person shares with you. The most important decisions about plans, people, and projects should get as much input as possible.