This might be something you suffer from… without necessarily noticing it. Decision fatigue is defined by someone making poor decisions as a result of having to make too many or having too much choice. This is a real situation!
The condition can manifest itself in various ways, for example, by not making any decisions and ‘‘burying your head in the sand’’ or alternatively to continue down a road of poor decision making with potentially serious consequences. It doesn’t just happen in leadership; it can influence purchasing decisions too. How often have you intended to buy a product or looked at a menu in a restaurant and thought ‘’There is too much choice’’ and ultimately made no decision as a result?
It has been known that Barack Obama, when President of the United States, narrowed down his work attire to two suits to limit the number of decisions he had to make. Supermarkets also do it with sweets and treats at the tills. We’ve all suffered from an impulse purchase or two right!? You’ve made lots of buying decisions when filling your trolley that you’ve become decision fatigued and give in to yourself right at the end.
We see this a lot in the workplace. Company Directors and/or senior management teams involved in too many aspects of their business can get drawn into a decision fatigue state. In the morning they are part of the sales team, by lunchtime they are having a finance meeting, after that marketing and then finish the day with a HR issue. Although it’s commendable to have such passion for what you do, it can in fact be counter-productive for the business. The person making these important choices might not be making the best or the correct decisions – because they are not specifically qualified in that area. This is particularly important with regards to HR or employment law where you’ll need to follow guidelines for compliance.
We are now going to give you some ways to beat decision fatigue… reading on would be a very good decision!
We know… this is easier said than done! But it is essential. It is so important as you simply can’t do everything by yourself. By learning how to delegate work the decision making can, within reason, be delegated too. By trusting your team to take on work it empowers them and aids their personal development. Delegating in this instance is two-fold; it lightens the load for you whilst giving others the opportunity to grow their skills and take on responsibility. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking delegating is just ‘’passing the buck’’ or thinking ‘’if you want something done, do it yourself’’, it’s not weakness, it’s the sign of a good leader.
If you’re in a financial position to, employing someone can help you beat the decision fatigue. It might be an Assistant you require, an Office Manager, a bookkeeper, an Account Manager. Document the specific tasks that the employee would take on and give them a specific job description with a specific role (luckily, we have done a blog on that subject too). By knowing exactly what jobs an employee would be doing you can delegate that work and give them the freedom to take on the decisions that need to be made with that role. We’re not saying that you need to employ someone for the sake of employing someone, but if the financial position of the business allows it and you have a specific role to be done then this will help with the fatigue of big decisions.
This can help you bridge the skill gaps within your business and help with the decision fatigue that you are suffering from. Many businesses outsource an accountant, rather than employing one, so why couldn’t you do that with other aspects of your business? The answer is… you can! Another huge benefit of outsourcing is you’ll be tapping in to qualified and experienced expertise without the overheads of employing. That way you have access to those qualified to make big decisions – so delegate it to them.
Our HR service is designed to help businesses grow through employee engagement, strategic workforce planning and compliant HR practices. Between us we have over 25 years of HR experience and specialise in pro-active HR, helping you make the big decisions that matter. If you’d like to discuss how you can beat the decision fatigue and work with us, we’d love to hear from you.