What are Decision-Making Skills and How to Improve Them

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 21, 2022 | Published June 21, 2021

Updated November 21, 2022

Published June 21, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Decision-making skills are qualities employers look for in candidates. Knowing how to make well-informed decisions can help you save time, use resources well, and become a better leader. In this article, we define decision-making skills, explain examples, and discuss how to develop these skills. We also provide tips for improving your decision-making skills and highlighting them on your resume.

What are decision-making skills?

Decision-making skills show your ability to make a good choice between alternatives. As an employee, making good decisions can help you contribute to your company's goals. Once you use these skills to assess all available information and uncover any bias, you can make effective decisions.

Examples of decision-making skills

Here are decision-making skills to include on your resume and apply in any workplace:

Creativity

Creativity refers to your ability to think differently about a task and come up with unique solutions. For example, you can use your creativity to schedule meetings that allow enough time for everyone to speak. Having a creative mind helps you spot the best solutions, even when they aren't obvious.

Related: How To Promote Creativity at Work (With Its Benefits)

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage your emotions and those of others. Becoming more emotionally intelligent helps you control your emotions when making decisions and maintain a positive attitude toward challenges.

Related: Interpersonal Skills: Definitions and Examples

Intuition

Intuition involves trusting your instincts when making decisions. These instincts come from your experiences and core values. Making effective decisions requires you to connect your instincts with potential actions or solutions to make a choice.

Leadership

Leadership is the process of guiding a team or individuals to reach a shared goal. As a decision-making skill, it involves motivating your teammates and ensuring everyone works towards implementing a group or personal decision.

Read more: Leadership Skills: Definitions and Examples

Organization

Organizational skills show your ability to use resources well. In making decisions, these skills help you determine the right results and whether they are top priority.

Related: What Are Organizational Skills? (With Improvement Tips)

Problem-solving

Problem-solving skills are crucial when making decisions. They involve identifying a problem and finding a suitable solution for it. Approaching each decision as a problem to solve helps you choose quickly after performing detailed research and aligning facts with the situation.

Related: Problem-Solving Skills: Definitions and Examples

Teamwork

To make effective decisions, you often need to collaborate with your colleagues and ask for input from friends or family members. For example, working with your marketing and sales manager can help you decide on the best social media strategy to use as a social media manager.

Related: Teamwork Skills (With Definition and Examples)

Time management

Decisions often need to be made quickly, and having good time management skills can help you make better decisions. Managing your time involves structuring how to make your decision and spending enough time on each step. For example, if you need to decide on a situation by month's end, excellent time management skills will help you decide how to plan the process until the due date.

Related: Time Management Skills: Examples and Definitions

Reasoning

Reasoning is a valuable skill required for making informed decisions. It involves assessing available facts and reviewing all advantages and disadvantages to make better decisions.

How to improve your decision-making skills

Here are ways to develop your decision-making skills:

1. Identify the situation

First, determine the situation and what decision you need to make. Gather information and all factors involved. Identifying the situation helps to clarify why a decision is necessary and who needs to be involved. Also, consider the short-term and long-term effects of your decisions. For example, while recommending a trendy technology may be a good decision as a software engineer, it may not align with your company's long-term objectives.

2. Record possible solutions or actions

Once you understand the situation, start brainstorming and noting potential solutions or actions. Documenting possible solutions or actions ensures you consider relevant options before you decide on an issue. For example, if you need to decide on a new clothing line's style, you can note trendy styles, those of your previous clothing line, or your competitor's style.

3. Assess your options' advantages and disadvantages

Next, evaluate each possible solution or action to understand its consequences. Spend enough time at this stage to ensure your choice aligns with your goals and relevant key performance measures (KPIs).

4. Decide and measure the results

Finally, determine what to do and track your decision's performance. Measuring the results helps you learn from your decisions.

9 tips for improving decision-making skills

Follow these tips when working on your decision-making skills:

1. Have a plan

Planning helps you make good decisions. For example, if you need to build a team to meet priority sales goals, plan for the team's size and what each teammate's responsibility would be. Consider having a contingency plan if you anticipate problems from your decision. For example, you can decide to create an additional quality control procedure to ensure your company manufactures no defective products.

2. Ask an expert

Getting an expert's opinion can help validate your decisions and give you more confidence in your decision-making skills. For example, you may ask your supervisor which colour scheme would match a brand's website as a web designer.

3. Be assertive

Take command of the decisions you make without being aggressive. Being assertive also helps to improve your confidence, especially when making difficult decisions. It can also help everyone in a group environment decide more quickly.

4. Set deadlines

While having enough time to decide on an issue is key, consider setting a time limit for every decision you make. Doing this helps minimize the time you spend thinking about each option or how long you have to change your mind. Be flexible with this deadline, especially if your decision might have a large impact on your goals.

5. Take breaks

Decision-making involves critical thinking and keen attention to detail. Sometimes, taking a break can help you refocus and provide new perspectives on your options. Try reading a book, taking a walk, listening to music, or enjoying a hobby during these breaks.

6. Exercise regularly and get some rest

Exercise helps your body and mind work together. It boosts your energy and stimulates your brain to stay focused. Also, you're more likely to make better decisions and avoid decision fatigue when you get enough sleep and space out decision-making sessions.

7. Limit your choices

Having many alternatives can make it more challenging to decide. By limiting your choices, you can make informed decisions and improve your ability to think critically. For example, if you need a logo for your company's brand, limit your choices by only considering logos that align with your company's story.

8. Use experiments

Experiments can help you evaluate the consequences of your decisions. For example, if you're unsure whether to include a manual for an electronic device, you can manufacture a few units and ask customers if they could use it without the manual.

9. Practice making decisions

Practicing helps train your brain and prepare you for the actual moment when you need to decide. Consider starting with simple decisions, such as the colour of the folder to keep documents or when to take coffee breaks. When you're confident in making simple decisions, practice more challenging decisions, such as when to change a patient's medication as a neurologist.

How to include decision-making skills on your resume

Here are three ways to highlight decision-making skills on your resume:

1. Use verbs from the job description

First, review the job description and decide what verbs or power phrases would display your decision-making skills to hiring managers. Consider using words, such as:

  • decided

  • strategized

  • selected

Also, consider including phrases, such as:

  • Makes decisions with confidence

  • Gathers all available facts before making decisions

  • Carefully assessed alternative risks

Word association is vital to showcasing your decision-making skills.

Related: Words to Avoid and Include On a Resume

2. Use metrics to describe your decision-making skills

Emphasizing metrics is another way to show hiring managers you have strong decision-making skills. Consider listing top metrics at your previous positions to get the recruiter's interest. For example, if your last position was as a social media manager, explain how you managed your team and guided them to improve social media engagement. Consider metrics mentioning how many teammates you had and the percentage increase in engagement. Also, connect these skills with how they can help the company you're applying to.

3. Review examples from job posting websites

Go through job posting sites to learn about other candidates' experiences. Notice how they displayed their decision-making skills on their resumes and determine whether you can express your decision-making skills similarly.

As you can see, developing your decision-making skills provides many benefits, such as making you a more desirable job candidate and even helping you contribute to your company's goals. By improving your decision-making skills, you'll be well on your way to succeeding in your chosen career.

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