This is the Most Productive Decision-Making Style

Decisions are what define a person. From the early stages of your life to your adulthood, decision-making is something you cannot run away from. Each decision you make at a specific stage of your life determines what comes next to you in your life.

Moreover, it’s the primary skill that companies seek in managers. Unlike usual people, the effect of managers’ decisions is not only limited only to themselves but spreads out to the whole organization, consequently shaping its future.

As Peter F. Drucker, a famous author and teacher was quoted saying:

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

Digging deeper, there are different styles of decision-making one can adopt. Surprisingly, the choice of your style tells a lot about how your decisions end up performing. Your decision-making style is what sets you apart from other leaders.

So, in this article, we’ll be going through all the different decision-making styles one can possess, and rationally conclude which of them is the most productive. So, if you’re someone who often struggles to make productive decisions, this article is for you!

Which Decision-Making Style is the Most Productive?

When we talk about the most productive decision-making style, the directive decision-making style certainly takes the lead. Not only does it comprise of being rational in making the decisions, but the people employing It are also autocratic.

A decision-making style is the default way of how a person reacts when he needs to make a decision. Each style is associated with its own characteristics and while some of them may not be as productive as others, it doesn’t mean they should be avoided, since they have their own set of advantages.

However, it’s important to note that a productive style doesn’t have to be the best for long-term results. When you’re planning for the long-term, being less productive for a while doesn’t seem to be a bad tradeoff. Hence when we’re talking about the most productive style, our primary goal is to be efficient in the short-term.

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The 4 Different Decision-Making Styles

Now, let’s move on to the different types of decision-making styles and see how effective they are in different scenarios and the pros and cons associated with them. This will help you rationally decide why there are different styles, and which one might work for you.

1. Analytical

As the name suggests, analytical decision-making requires analyzing a certain situation thoroughly before making a decision. If you’re someone who cannot decide unless you thoroughly access the situation or you find yourself lacking the ability of impulsive decision-making, this might be your strategy.

An analytical decision-maker doesn’t rely upon signals or instincts. Instead, his major focus lies around facts, figures, and reassurance from colleagues. While this style might be amongst the ones taking a considerably long-time, it’s a highly effective one for the long-term.

The good thing about people having this style is that they’re highly adaptable to new situations and are always open to suggestions. They like considering better alternatives and have a huge room for ambiguity.

When to use the Analytical Decision-Making Style?

Analytical decision-making should be your go-to approach when you face situations having multiple right directions for the same problem. When you face a situation that requires studying a lot of factors and using a fact-driven approach, this approach might get you the best results.

However, make sure you prepare yourself for a lot of pondering and studying different choices for your decision. It might require multiple days to discover simple relationships between variables and patience is what matters the most.

2. Conceptual

Coming at the second number, we have the conceptual decision-making approach. This decision-making style is considered more of a social method than the other ones. The key characteristic of this style is creativity.

People using conceptual decision-making styles are the ones who think outside of the box when making a decision. They don’t go by the usual rules to arrive at their decisions and rather follow a wide range of perspectives when thinking about something.

Another key characteristic of this method is that the thinkers like to think ahead of time and keep the future prospects of their decisions in mind. The style overlaps a little with analytical when it comes to pondering for long hours over something quite trivial, however, the difference lies in the fact that the conceptual style doesn’t have a fixed algorithm while the other one does.

When to use the Conceptual Decision-Making Style?

Conceptual decision-making style is useful when a certain situation involves innovative approaches, and you want to break free from stereotypes, doing something that’s not very common. It’s important to note that this approach isn’t guaranteed to work for everybody. Rather, it requires a certain way of thinking.

However, if it works, it could lead you to achieve great heights. But at the same time, there’s a considerable level of risk involved as well. Most people tag this as the decision-making style having the most potential.

3. Directive

Directive decision-making is somewhat the exact opposite of what we studied in the analytical decision-making approach. The directive approach involves figuring out a scenario based on the things one already knows about. Unlike the analytical approach, you don’t go digging into simple details and comparing tens of alternatives to each other.

A person having a directive decision-making capability doesn’t have a huge room for ambiguity and he likes to get things done as fast as possible. This is primarily the reason we crowned this approach earlier for being the most productive.

When to use the Directive Decision-Making Style?

The decision-maker and his previous knowledge play a crucial role here. Since the already acquired information and knowledge of the person are being used, the failure of accurate information or less experience might result in this approach being the worst.

Hence, unless you consider yourself very up-to-date and having accurate knowledge with a lot of experience in tackling similar scenarios, the directive approach is not what you would want to go with. Also, if you possess this approach, you’d often end up making impulsive decisions.

4. Behavioral

Behavioral decision-making is a group-based decision-making approach where each team member is counted for while making a decision. Each individual’s satisfaction is kept in mind, and nobody is looked upon when this technique is employed. Instead of the manager being the sole-power here, the whole team collectively makes the decision.

The behavioral approach is sometimes quite fruitful, especially in scenarios where a lot of cross-cultural individuals are involved. It’s hard to look out for everybody’s interests when the responsibility of decision-making falls upon a single person.

Having a lot of people with different mindsets and perspectives pooling in for making a decision certainly opens the door for a wide range of different alternatives, some of which may have been impossible to think of for the manager alone.

When to use the Behavioral Decision-Making Style?

An important thing to note is that the quality of communication plays a pivotal role here. The method cannot be employed successfully if the communication isn’t reliable between a group of people. Also, each individual needs to contribute and share their past experiences to figure the pros and cons of a situation.

Keep in mind that this approach is quite time-consuming since gathering opinions from a wide range of communities is a long process and might confuse or even chaos. So, make sure you employ it only after enough consideration about the team involved.

Summary of the 4 Types of Decision-Making Styles

Here’s a short, summarized form of all the decision-making styles for you to have a quick overview of each one.

Decision-Making StyleCharacteristics
AnalyticalAttempts to find the optimal decision; based on a lot of alternatives
ConceptualPowered by creativity. Doesn’t go by the conventional rules.
DirectiveImpulsive; Powered by previous knowledge and experience of the manager.
BehavioralTeam-effort; Relies upon communication and looks out for everybody.

Why Is Knowing Your Decision-Making Style Important?

Most of the time, when you’re handling a key position of some business, making decisions inevitably falls upon your shoulders. Not only do you have a short time to think things thoroughly and decide to the best of your abilities, but you also have to look out for a lot of factors while doing so.

Knowing different decision-making styles and figuring out where your approach fits helps take advantage of the strong sides of your natural approach. You realize what areas you’re amazing at and where you lack.

This, in turn, lets you work on your weak areas and put your natural potential to the proper use. Had it not been for your decision-making style, you would have never discovered what goes on behind-the-scenes in your mind.

Everyone should discover their natural decision-making styles because they could connect to people having styles complementing styles. For example, you own a business and want to hire a top management team. You want to have people aboard that possess different decision-making styles so you could get the most insights and hence a wide range of options to choose from.

Lastly, suppose you find yourself always struggling to make decisions or being too unproductive. In that case, you could always practice other styles of making decisions after doing enough research on them and choosing what you prefer the most. This provides you a concrete list of steps to follow according to different scenarios.

This works for most methods, except for some parts like being creative, which most people can’t really control.

Figuring Out Your Decision-Making Style

Now, let’s see a step-wise approach to easily figuring out your decision-making style by observing certain factors.

Seek Others’ Feedback

Seeking people’s feedback could be one of the most helpful ways to determine your natural decision-making style. The closest people around you subconsciously observe you continuously. As a result, they have an effortless memory of what your decisions look like.

This memory could develop up to the point where people might even start predicting what you’d do in a particular situation. So, the people you spend time with have a good understanding of your decision-making style, and seeking their feedback should be among the first things you should do.

However, you need to make sure you don’t rely upon a few people’s opinions only since this could introduce the chances of bias. 

Observe Yourself in Everyday Life

While you might not realize it, your decision-making style affects your daily life as much as it does your professional one. Everything you do throughout the day is driven by some unique set of actions, which in turn are determined by your decisions.

So, if you observe yourself keen enough while making decisions in your day-to-day life, there’s a high chance you’ll realize which decision-making style you’re more inclined towards. Also, one can judge himself in a way that nobody else can.

Decision-making Styles Could Change

There are always blurry lines between psychological entities such as decision-making styles. Figuring out your style doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to have it for the rest of your life. Hence, be open to any change and be ready to embrace the fact that your decision-making style could also change at any moment.

Hence, if you find yourself following a certain approach at an instant, don’t rely too much upon it. These things are only meant for references and not for predicting your future set of actions.

Ending Words

Decision-making is one of the most precious assets when it comes to managerial positions. Not only that, but it also has a huge impact on our everyday lives since it shapes our future and defines how we go about our lives.

When we dive deeper, there are majorly four different decision-making styles that people use to make their day-to-day decisions. Each one has a different set of characteristics and comes with its specific pros and cons.

Throughout the article, we discussed each of the decision-making styles in detail, getting to know their major parts and the situations where they might be the best option to use. We also saw why it’s important to discover your style, in case you haven’t already.

Lastly and more importantly, we saw which decision-making style results in the highest level of productivity. Undoubtedly, there are certain tradeoffs that one would need to achieve a high productivity level. But for the people focusing on short-term goals, the tradeoff is worth it.

In the end, it falls upon you to decide what your priorities are and how you plan to move forward, keeping them in mind. So, make sure you study all the styles thoroughly and try to adjust your style to your situation.

Emidio Amadebai

As an IT Engineer, who is passionate about learning and sharing. I have worked and learned quite a bit from Data Engineers, Data Analysts, Business Analysts, and Key Decision Makers almost for the past 5 years. Interested in learning more about Data Science and How to leverage it for better decision-making in my business and hopefully help you do the same in yours.

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