In a previous article, we looked at areas where decision-makers get stuck. While some leaders realize they are unable to move forward, they find it challenging to free themselves from things that are holding them back. Here are a few reasons why it’s difficult for decision-makers to get unstuck.
Your position as a leader in your organization requires you to make tough decisions with long-lasting implications. Realizing you have such a huge responsibility can be overwhelming, leading you to develop the impostor syndrome. While in this situation, you begin questioning your ability, skill, and experience to get the job done. You develop doubts. You start seeing yourself as a fraud while those around you appear as better, brighter, and more talented.
The impostor syndrome is common among high achievers who find it hard to accept or internalize their success. This self-doubt can lead to anxiety and paralyzing fear that affects decision-makers’ ability to move forward.
It is difficult to take risks in an ever-changing environment, especially when you don’t have adequate information and other external determining factors are out of your control. Some decision-makers choose to avoid taking risks to safeguard their current positions. Others come up with alternatives instead of dedicating their time and effort towards their best idea. Leaders who develop a fear of risks miss growth opportunities, failing to prepare their organization for the future.
As we have mentioned above, leaders should dedicate their time and effort to their best ideas. However, it is also important for a decision-maker to know when to abandon their brainchild. This is the sunk cost fallacy. You pursue a goal despite evidence showing the cost is higher than the reward, because you invested too much.
Victims of the sunk cost fallacy often make bad decisions or none at all in an attempt to recoup the incurred costs. Instead of picking up a new path, they continue making the same mistakes, blinded by the irrational desire to justify their prior decision.
Sometimes decision-makers get stuck because they do not have a clear picture of what they are trying to achieve. They know their role and know other team members are counting on them to kick off the process, but they get stuck because the outcome is unclear. Leaders can also get stuck because they fail to imagine a positive outcome when faced with a tough decision.
Decision-makers can have a vivid picture of the desired outcome but still get stuck because they do not have a timeframe. Working without a definite deadline can lead to procrastination and indecisiveness. It is easy for leaders to postpone making a decision when they feel they have much time on their hands. Feeling like you have all the time in the world can convince you to put off crucial initial decision-making steps. For example, collecting the relevant information and data.
Anxiety has a clever way of sneaking up on leaders to interfere with their decision-making process. It makes leaders overthink the smallest things, such as how to phrase an important email or what color to paint the office. Even when the decision is simple, they spend a significant amount of time weighing options and debating the merits of each. Once they decide, they may spend more time evaluating their decision to gauge whether it was the right one.
Anxious leaders go through all that trouble because they are highly motivated to please everyone, make the right decision, and avoid creating room for negative emotions such as guilt, regret, or doubt. This is not always a bad thing, especially when the decision-maker is faced with a tough choice with far-reaching consequences. However, when you develop a habit of overthinking every tiny detail, you can lose sight of your main goal. This can result in getting stuck.
When a decision-maker gets stuck, the organization experiences stagnation and misses out on crucial growth opportunities. Coaches can help leaders overcome these obstacles.
A coach will evaluate your situation to identify where you’re stuck and find out why it is difficult to get unstuck. They will then recommend solutions to help you and your organization move forward. To enhance your leadership style, contact the ArtScience Group.