Project Management

3 Things that Stop You Making the Right Decision

To put the main job of project managers into a few words, it would probably be that they make decisions. Indeed, project managers make decisions for themselves, for their team, and for their projects. In order to make good decisions, project managers must be self-aware and able to handle biases of themselves and other team members. After all, people go through different experiences in their career–so given the same situation, they will have different approaches and reactions to it. In a guest post for A Girl’s Guide to Project Management, Chris Cook points out three common biases that impact a project manager’s decision-making processes:

  • Regret
  • Regression to the mean
  • Illusion of control

Shoot for the Moon

One of our most common reactions to negative outcomes of our decisions is mourning over what we have done. We ask “what if” questions and imagine how things would have turned out differently were we to act better in some ways. The problem is that we are not fortune tellers who can see the future ahead, and we make bad decisions sometimes. However, what distinguishes good leaders from mediocre ones is the ability to accept failure and move on. When faced with a decision, make the best possible decision, reflect on it for your own experience, and let it go.

Equally important is being consistent with your progress. Of course, your life has ups and downs, and so does your career with highs and lows. But always be consistent with your efforts and determination, and don’t let things get in the way of your professional performance. You know that it’s easy to regress to the mean, so aim high, reach far beyond your comfort zone to raise the mean, and ensure that the regression creates less impact.

Additionally, remember that you work with other people to reach the big goal, so don’t be a control freak. Leadership is about giving a team the tools to succeed and keeping them on the right track. Cook suggests reading philosophical texts of popular figures such as Lao Tzu or Marcus Aurelius to find balance and come up with the right strategy:

Recognising these biases not only makes you a better decision maker but also a better influencer. Your messages will become clearer. Stress, chaos, and disorder will be lowered because you recognise the influences occurring and can adapt faster.

Philosophy helps bring a peace. These messages are hundreds, even thousands, of years old. The situations you are going through are not new. There are tools to help deal with them.

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