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For some people, making decisions at work comes naturally. They know which facts to take into account, who to communicate their ideas to, and have the confidence to follow through on their choices. Many roles across all industries require this ability. If employees in these roles don’t follow the proper approach leading up to their final decision, many things can go wrong in both the process and the outcome, causing ineffective or even detrimental results.
Decisive Judgment is a competency that helps decipher which people have the natural ability to make thoughtful decisions in a timely and confident way. As employees, these people carefully consider alternatives and consequences when making choices, and assume responsibility for their actions.
Assess personality surveys measure innate characteristics that affect how successful an employee is at making timely and positive decisions that help their company maintain effectiveness and improve processes. Over thirty years of research and knowledge gained working with our clients has led us to consider these five scales, or traits, that tie into a person’s ability to exhibit Decisive Judgment.
When an employee lands on the low end of this scale, it means they tend to view situations with an intuitive and personal perspective. When it comes to making decisions, these people are more likely to de-emphasize the facts, and rely more on their personal opinion in a situation.
Let’s say a new employee is in charge of creating the weekly schedule as part of her new role in a restaurant. Instead of referring to past weeks’ schedules to gauge how many employees should be at work on different days, she goes by what she thinks a good number might be. Her decision making approach may rely more on intuition or “gut feel”, rather than focusing on available data (historical staffing trends). This might lead to over- or under-staffing—a problem that could have been avoided if she looked at the facts.
On the high end of this scale, employees tend to make decisions objectively and based on facts. They avoid letting their personal beliefs or feelings skew the choice they make. These employees are great at evaluating the data and tangible information before taking action.
Most decisions that are made in day-to-day tasks involve people as well as data, so too high of a score on this scale may mean the employee will rely solely on facts, without taking into account the people who are involved and how the decision affects them. You’ll want to look for a nice balance in an employee so that they are more likely to consider both people and information.
Imaginative thinkers are extremely good at thinking creatively and can be an asset at work, but when it comes to decision-making, at what point does this trait hinder their ability to make sound choice?
The left end of this scale represents people who tend to be wishful thinkers. These people are great at coming up with new and innovative ways to improve aspects at work, but because they tend to think in idealistic terms, some of the decisions they make might not be the most realistic, and may even be far-reaching.
Employees who think in practical terms fall on the high end of this scale. They are more likely to arrive at decisions through a common-sense approach, keeping their ideas in check and typically not basing their choices on an idealistic view. This trait keeps the decision from being overly-wishful or unattainable based on variables like company resources and importance of the decision’s outcome.
Do you find your employees making snap decisions without fully considering the consequences, or are they slow in making choices and committing to solutions? If so, they may fall outside of the preferred range for this competency.
The ability to make quick decisions is important, but on the low end of this scale, this trait may have negative effects at work. Employees who score low on Serious-Minded/Restrained are more likely to make decisions without deliberating with others, leaving those who will be affected by the change in the dark and missing key factors that play into which decision is the best choice. These people may also make impulsive decisions or dismiss others’ ideas too quickly, limiting coworker input even if it may be vital to the decision.
The high end of this scale also has downsides. Being too restrained might cause employees to take things too seriously, or have a lower likelihood to commit on issues because they delay making a decision. Although employees on this side of the scale are seen as responsible and careful, when it comes to making decisions, these can be hindrances. If an employee here needs to make a quick choice, they may be uncomfortable doing so because they tend to be more risk-averse and cautious. Over-deliberation, another common trait among high scorers for this scale, slows down or may even halt an employee’s decision-making process.
The best place to land in Serious-Minded/Restrained for this particular competency is in the middle range. In this position, an employee is expected to know which decisions can be handled personally and which should require deliberation with coworkers. These people tend to avoid acting on a choice prematurely, which can cause an inefficient outcome, or prolonging the choice, making the decision-making process inefficient.
This scale measure a person’s preference for relying on themselves and taking initiative as opposed to working in a team setting and looking to others for input and support. Do you notice employees at your company with the ability to make decisions on their own, or are they waiting for others to make decisions for them?
Employees who often rely on others’ opinions and feedback prior to making decisions fall on the low end of this scale (the keyword here is rely). Traits to watch out for in employees who fall here include over-delegating tasks and responsibilities as well as requiring extra support and direction when making decisions. Often, these people are seen as collaborative consensus builders, but at their worst, they may be seen as unsure of themselves and unwilling to actually make decisions. Clearly, this can be a big issue for a role that requires this competency.
On the opposite end of the scale you find people who are independent and highly self-reliant. These employees mainly rely on themselves and are expected to take the initiative in any goal they set out to accomplish. This level of independence might cause employees to show reluctance in delegating tasks and an unwillingness to accept assistance even when it’s appropriate to do so. On top of that, people who land in the high range are often less likely to seek advice and discuss plans with their team.
The best place for an employee who has the responsibility of making decisions is in the middle range for this scale. Here, they should demonstrate the ability to lead their decision-making process and communicate with the right people in a timely manner for support. They are more likely to welcome input from others without the tendency to completely rely on coworkers to make the decision for them.
Employees who have the responsibility for making decisions need to be assertive in their choices. This means taking the initiative and having confidence in their convictions, rather than being reticent and uncomfortable standing their ground.
When people fall on the low end of Assertiveness, they’re more likely be soft-spoken and act unsure of themselves and their decisions. They’re seen as easy to work with and are good listeners, but may be uncomfortable speaking their minds. This can lead to indecisiveness or lack of clarity in the decision-making process—a problem when their role calls for taking charge and making important choices.
People scoring at the high end of Assertiveness often demonstrate the desire and confidence to take charge at work. A certain amount of responsibility comes with making decisions, because every decision has effects that have the potential to hurt or help the company. High scorers on this scale tend to be comfortable in positions requiring leadership and taking command or making choices that affect others in the organization.
Decisive Judgment is a must-have competency for employees who need to make day-to-day or long-term decisions. Since these five scales deal with traits that factor into how well an employee makes decisions, assessing for these traits helps you choose the right employees for a role, which in turn helps your organization run smoothly and maintain effectiveness. Knowing if a person has the natural ability to perform well at their job alleviates stresses for hiring managers and, once that person is in the role, gives peace of mind since you’ll know what to expect from the individual.
The Competency Spotlight series focuses on the personality traits measured by OutMatch assessments, and how these traits impact performance. No one measure can say with 100% accuracy how an employee will behave, but considering these competencies can help you identify candidates that are ‘prewired’ to be successful in a particular job type.