If you’ve ever had to work with a team member who started every sentence with “I’m not sure…”, you’re well aware of indecisiveness in the workplace.
Indecision is the inability to make decisions. It stems from various factors like lack of confidence, impostor syndrome or even decision fatigue. Most of all, it’s the fear of making the wrong choices that forces us to add disclaimers before each decision.
Being indecisive can negatively impact your personal and professional life. If you’re not yet aware of it, you must take necessary measures to make sure you beat your indecisiveness.
Overcoming indecisiveness is a continuous process of lifting yourself up and identifying the source of the problem. Let’s discuss the meaning of being indecisive in greater detail—with ways to overcome it.
What Is Indecisiveness?
Have you ever had a hard time choosing between two things? It can be which movie to watch, where to eat or even what to buy. Indecisiveness is the inability to choose or reach a conclusive decision.
In the workplace, being indecisive can have a substantial impact on important business decisions. It can render contracts useless and affect client relationships. For instance, imagine that you’re a marketing manager. You have to make decisions every day to assign tasks, develop and sign-off on new strategies or even to finalize budgets. If you’re indecisive, not only will you find it hard to effectively run your team but also delay critical events.
An indecisive person struggles with:
Making quick and effective decisions
Being firm about their choices
Collaborating with others, especially if tasks are interdependent
Following through simply because they can’t decide on their idea’s efficacy
Dealing with high-pressure environments where time is of the essence
Decision-making is a critical workplace skill that helps you make informed choices, persuade others and achieve peak performance. Overcoming indecisiveness can transform you into a valuable employee, manager or even business owner. It’s important to identify where your indecisiveness stems from. Let’s explore some common areas as suggested by experts that may be the cause of your indecisiveness.
What Leads To Indecisiveness?
Think about a time when you couldn’t make a decision. Now, think about all the reasons why. Perhaps it was a fear of failure, fear of hurting someone or disappointing others or even a lack of clarity about your purpose. Indecision can originate from several factors that affect our cognitive ability to break the barrier.
Here are some reasons for being indecisive. Let’s see if you can relate to some or most of them.
Fear Of Failure
A common cause of indecisiveness is the fear of failing at your job—a fear that stems from doing the wrong thing. For instance, even after you’ve done your research, studied the market and ran simulations, you may still feel like you’ll fail once the idea is rolled-out. Your ability to make a decision is directly impacted by anxiety or distress about the future. At work, you may often find yourself staying quiet during meetings or not taking initiative as a result.
What Will They Think?
Society plays an important role in building and shaping us into who we are. Whether we’d like to believe it or not, external forces do occupy a dominant position in our lives. The stress of disappointing others—your colleagues, manager or family—can keep you from making decisions. What others think about you takes precedence over your work, overshadowing tangible solutions and carefully considered outcomes.
Lack of Confidence
A lack of confidence in your abilities, skills and strengths can also lead to indecisiveness. If you’re not sure about whether you’ll do a good job, you’ll likely step back from the table. This can affect your position in your team as someone who’s more decisive may be picked over you—even if your ideas are better. Being underconfident pushes us to the back, limiting the impact of our thoughts and opinions.
Decision fatigue means making poor decisions as a result of tiring yourself out. If you have to make multiple decisions every day, eventually you’ll burn out. This is a psychological event where a person’s ability to make decisions gets less impactful with every decision they make. The cause is brain fatigue as a result of continuous decision-making. Imagine you’re in a 4-hour long meeting to decide which logo suits your brand more. By the end of it, you’re so tired that you just go with whatever comes to mind. This can lead to poor decision-making, impacting your business.
We’ve all experienced analysis paralysis during the course of our lives. The number of instances when we overanalyzed a decision to a point where we couldn’t arrive at a solution are infinite. Analysis paralysis means to overthink something so much that it leads to no outcomes or decisions. This may be because you’re overloaded with information or overwhelmed by something like an urgent task. It’s similar to when we have so much work, we just give up on everything and choose to do nothing instead.
Understanding why you’re being indecisive is a step closer to overcoming indecisiveness. There’s nothing you can’t conquer if you put your mind to it. Now, let’s see how to stop being indecisive so you can be an effective decision-maker.
How To Overcome Indecisiveness
If you’ve identified the reasons behind your indecision, you can now learn how to overcome it. Here are helpful tips to tackle indecision:
Focus On What You Know And Where It Can Take You
Most of the time, our indecision can lead us astray. You’re more likely to ignore what you know because you find comfort in your indecisiveness. Next time you feel like you can’t make a decision, think about what you know. Information is powerful enough to nudge you in the right direction. Focusing on available, relevant information will streamline the decision-making process. Rely on a structure to arrive at creative solutions.
Communicate Your Concerns
Talking to others like friends, colleagues or family can boost your confidence and give you a proper direction. When you’re feeling lost, burdened or overwhelmed, communicating your concerns is an accessible way to overcome these emotions. Those you trust can guide you to the right path, making it easier for you to make decisions or choices. You can’t expect to do everything alone, especially if your decisions may impact people other than you.
Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone
A significant method to overcome indecisiveness is to do something that makes you uncomfortable. Something that scares you or is not usual for you will push you to make better decisions. It’s only when we challenge ourselves that we can overcome our weaknesses. Stepping out of your comfort zone opens doors to new opportunities, helping you achieve your goals with more confidence. You’ll be more careful while making decisions, taking inputs from others and communicating where necessary.
Using Decision-Making Tools
Decision-making tools like SWOT (Strengths-Weaknesses-Outcomes-Threats) analysis or the Uncertainty Toolkit—a mental model to help you make a hypothesis by using available data—will help you decide without doubts. Create your personal toolbox to navigate decision-making problems and challenges. If you take it one step at a time, you’ll find it easier to move ahead. This is especially helpful in cases where you’re not sure about the outcome—like implementing a new payroll system or rebranding.
Try Not To Overthink The Outcomes
The moment you start to doubt the outcomes is when you’ll fall into a pit of despair. Instead of beating around the bush and overthinking the results—whether it’ll work or not—focus on implementation. Once you roll out your ideas, see them in action and identify areas for improvement, you can do a health check. You shouldn’t fixate on whether you’ll win or lose, rather taking it one step at a time is a much more informed way to do things and see them through to the end.
Change your perspective. Think of being indecisive as an opportunity to identify multiple ways to do something. Being indecisive enables you to approach a problem from different angles. If you can transition from indecisiveness to decisiveness, you’ll be a lot more confident in your decision-making skills.
Make Effective Decisions With Harappa
Harappa’s Making Decisions online course will teach you how to overcome indecisiveness. Not only will you learn about decision-making tools like a SWOT analysis but also identify ways to overcome biases—that may be acting as barriers to decision-making. Become an effective decision-maker and reliable team player by addressing your improvement areas. You’ll also learn about risk assessment and working with available information to arrive at informed solutions. By the end of this course, you’ll be an expert in weighing the pros and cons!
Explore Harappa Diaries to learn more about topics related to the SOLVE Habit such as What is Decision-Making, the Importance of Decision-Making and Conflict of Interest to make decisions effectively.
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