Explain what a decision making style is and describe how you can improve it.

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In our lives, we have to make decisions all the time.  Because we, as people, are all different, we tend to make our decisions in different ways.  The way in which we make our decisions can be called our decision-making style.  It is not clear that there is one best way to make decisions and therefore it is not clear that we can really improve our decision-making style.  However, we can put more thought into our style to make sure that we are making decisions as well as we possibly can.

Let us first look at one way to describe different decision-making styles.  We will look at a typology that is based on a matrix that has four styles that differ on the basis of two factors.   One factor is the amount of information that a person likes to gather before making a decision.  The other factor is the number of options that the person likes to consider.  A person who picks one option on the basis of little information, for example, can be said to have a “decisive” decision-making style.  By contrast, a person who gathers a lot of information and considers many options can be said to have an “integrative” style.

How, then, does one improve one’s decision-making style?  The most important thing is to be aware of that style.  Any style can be good or bad, but it is important that we know ourselves so that we can guard against going overboard with our style.  For example, if you are a decisive decision-maker, you might want to ask yourself, on occasion, if you are sure that you have taken into account enough information or considered enough options.  Since you are naturally inclined to make quick decisions, you have to be wary of being too quick.  A second thing that can be done is to go back and look at the results of decisions you have made.  Did your decision turn out the way you thought it would?  If not, is there a need to rethink your style?  Might you need to use different styles in different circumstances?  There may not be such a need, but it is a good idea to at least consider the possibility from time to time.

The best way to improve your decision-making style, then, is to be aware of that style and to check from time to time to be sure that you are not making mistakes due to using an inappropriate style.

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