“Sometimes, I can sense that the people I work with are getting frustrated with me, but I’m not sure why or what I’m doing wrong. I’m feeling pretty indecisive about how to handle these situations.” – Zadie from Tyler, TX
All day long, you likely make lots of automatic decisions without having a problem. You decide what to have for lunch. You decide to take a shower. Easy!
Decision-making can become difficult, however, when there IS a problem, when something is important, or there is a great deal at stake. It can be even more challenging when we don’t realize there’s a problem in the first place. If you find yourself not recognizing when there’s a problem that requires your action, there are three skills you can practice:
Observing means noticing what is going on around you. First, watch for mistakes other people make; if you learn from others, you can avoid making the same missteps. Next, as you go about your day, actively watch for negative looks on people’s faces or changes in the way that someone acts towards you – like not saying hi to you, going to lunch without you or stopping conversations when you come near them. These can be signs of a problem that you’ll need to act on.
Amazingly, we only really hear a small percentage of what is said to us. We might be thinking of something else, considering what we will say next or daydreaming. As you go about your day, pay close attention to what your boss, customers, coworkers and friends are saying – you may pick up on issues you didn’t realize existed. And most importantly, listen to your conscience: any decisions you make must ultimately fit with your own values and goals.
Finally, sometimes we may need more information if we suspect a problem or have a major decision to make. Start by ensuring your perception of the situation is correct – tell the other person what you think you’re hearing or seeing, and ask them if you’re right. If you are, don’t hesitate to ask for advice and gather more information before making a decision or taking steps to correct the problem. No one is an island, and often it’s listening to the experience of others that can help us make the best decisions.
Looking for more advice on how to grow your skills and advance in your career? Visit Goodwill’s GoodProspects® site, where you can participate in discussion boards, work with a virtual mentor and explore new fields.