Should we hire candidate A or candidate B?

Will we work with the supplier who charges less or the one who offers more?

Do we need a new strategy to reach our business goals?

These are just a few of the important kinds of decisions that managers and business leaders face every day. As ‘information saturation’ abounds and our attention gets pulled in every direction, the phenomenon known as ‘decision fatigue’ continues to test even the most confident leader.

What is decision fatigue?

The science of decision-making psychology is clear – decision fatigue is the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision making. It is now understood as one of the causes of irrational trade-offs in decision-making. Not only can having too many decisions to make leave you feeling mentally drained, it can also impact your ability to make rational decisions – or perhaps any decision at all. Managers or leaders suffering from decision fatigue can become metaphorical bottlenecks in the decision-making chain, with the ripple effects felt across the entire organization.

But effective decision-making is a skill; it’s a muscle that you can build with the proper support and a little practice. When it comes to helping your team overcome decision fatigue, an external perspective is key.

Here are some of the fundamental ways a Coach can help business leaders avoid the burnout of decision fatigue.

1.    Delegate Better

Many managers and leaders struggle to ‘let go’ of any of the decisions they’re facing on a daily basis. In reality, successful leaders rarely make decisions on their own. A Coach can help your leaders identify why they may be struggling to delegate decisions and provide tools to help them better recognize internal resources they can leverage to delegate the right tasks to the right people. Coaching can also help empower other employees on the team by strengthening their critical thinking and evaluation skills to better prepare them to help managers with decisions.

2.    Improve Process

Decision fatigue is a problem of volume – so if you’re suffering from decision burnout, even the simplest decisions can start to feel overwhelming. A Coach will work with your team to create processes that make more decisions ‘turnkey’. Tools like a decision-making matrix can help free up mental energy and take the guesswork out of much of the decision-making process.

3.    Avoid Bias

Unfortunately, human bias means that without intervention, most people are predisposed to making irrational choices. You don’t need to look too far to see examples of it all around. When it comes to decision-making (and especially decision fatigue), it’s common to only pay attention to information that supports our preconceived notions and ignore anything that doesn’t. This drastically reduces our ability to engage in critical thinking and evaluation of a potential decision. That’s why an external perspective is so crucial for leaders facing a lot of decisions.

4.     Focus on Long-Term Thinking Over Short-Term Decisions

In business, it can be easy to become short-sighted and focused only on immediate, short-term actions. This can cause our decision-making to become risk-averse and status quo, potentially causing us to lose out on significant opportunities. That’s especially true if we’re facing the burnout of decision fatigue. Fighting decision fatigue requires a much broader, longer-term view of the business. A Coach can help provide that perspective and get leaders out of the ‘day-to-day’ to begin to think more holistically.

5.    Support Self-Awareness

Coaching isn’t just about work; it invariably touches on every area of an employee’s life, including work/life balance, purpose and leadership style. Self-awareness is essential to good decision-making. A coach can help provide a more accurate mirror for managers to better understand how their actions are perceived by others. A Coach will recognize patterns that would otherwise likely be missed and help leaders see themselves more clearly – and therefore, make better decisions.

If decision fatigue is impacting your business, it’s time to do something about it. 

With decades of experience coaching employees at all stages in their careers, Cenera has one of Calgary’s largest teams of coaches. Every day, we help businesses invest in their leaders, their teams and their decisions. 

Contact us today to learn more.


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