How to Become More Decisive When You Fear Making Decisions

Some leaders are naturally decisive. But if you’re naturally indecisive, think of decisiveness as a skill to be learned, like riding a bike.

The next time your boss refuses to make a decision, say, “You’re so dicidiphobic,” and walk out. It won’t help, but you’ll feel smart.

Two reasons we decide not to decide:

#1. People-pleasing:

Excessive people-pleasing leads to indecision, anxiety, resentment, and misery. After all, how can you fully know what others want?

People-pleasers can’t say no for fear of disappointing. Anyone who can’t say no lets others drive decisions.

If you can’t make decisions, someone else runs your life.

#2. Loss aversion:

The fear of loss maintains the status quo.

“For most people, the fear of losing $100 is more intense than the hope of gaining $150.” Daniel Kahneman

People lie to avoid loss about twice as often as to achieve gain. (Schindler and Pfattheicher)

3 ways to lean into decisiveness:

“Decisiveness is a characteristic of high-performing men and women. Almost any decision is better than no decision at all.” Brian Tracy

The decision not to make a decision is a decision.

#1. Create momentum.

Momentum is built on a series of small decisions that achieve a clear goal.

Indecision leads to lethargy, discouragement, and defeat.

“It’s never the size of the problem that is the problem. It’s a lack of momentum.” John Maxwell

#2. Say no:

A coachee, in his youth, couldn’t say no and ended up traveling with his girlfriend’s family on vacation. He felt miserable.

He since learned that saying no earns more respect than always saying yes.

The first time I said no to my boss was painful.

#3. Get real:

People get over poor decisions when you own them, correct them, and keep your eye on the larger objective. (Inspired by a recent coaching conversation.)

What prevents leaders from making decisions?

How might leaders become more decisive?