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Are you a CEO who is tired of making tough decisions? For starters, you are not alone, however, all the perks that come with leading a business also mean that the buck stops with you, and, ultimately, taking tough decisions is part of your job.

Burnout remains commonplace among business leaders, and studies have shown that almost seven out of every 10 executives say that it is influencing their ability to make decisions.

However, this can also happen in the other way around.

Too much involvement in decision making can potentially create burnout, especially since business leaders are now faced with countless areas to worry about, such as productivity, efficiency, ESG, and many others. Leadership burnout is often perceived as a workload issue, yet it is more of a conflict between traditional means of work and today’s hectic business environment.

Business leaders are constantly making decisions, many of which potentially having major implications on the success of their companies and teams. This places a serious amount of pressure on them, and many feel so stressed that they end up not taking a decision at all. This is when decision fatigue kicks in.

Decision fatigue is when the mind becomes so tired and fatigued after a long period decision making, leading to one’s ability to do so to decline.

This is a concerning situation for a business leader to be in, both for the company’s wellbeing and their own mental health. Luckily, there are a number of ways to tackle it.

1) Have a strong foundation

Decision fatigue is the result of business leaders not utilising strategy as an effective guide.

Prior to making any type of decision, a business leader must build a strong foundation, recalling the company’s mission, vision, values, purpose, and operating principles. This can help make it clearer which choice fits in best.

Business leaders must stick to the company’s principles and values, using them to evaluate the decisions they make. Pinpointing these principles also creates clarity among employees, as they will have a greater idea of how they can apply the company’s values to their own decision making, ensuring alignment across the organisation.

2) Connect with others to identify biases

On their own, business leaders might find it difficult to identify any biases or blind spots that they may not be addressing during their decision-making process.

Therefore, it is integral to have a trusted group of smart and supportive individuals who can offer a range of perspectives that challenge biases and bring forth new insights.

Asking for and accepting feedback is a struggle for many individuals, not just business leaders, yet it is one of the most important parts of being a leader. The best leaders avoid going defensive, and allow themselves to explore different perspectives.

When business leaders have the opportunity to directly and honestly discuss issues with their peers who have either faced similar challenges, or have a deep understanding of the issue, the true problem can be identified and worked on.

3) Do not rush into decisions

Sometimes, there is more time than one may think.

Business leaders know that they must delegate certain decisions to their team and empower them to make decisions aligned with the company’s strategy. However, there are some decisions that only the person at the helm of the company can make.

When this is the case, it is important to take time and space to make a decision. Some matters require further thinking, and business leaders cannot rush into a decision, as this can have detrimental consequences, particularly in the long run.

Taking some time to carefully consider a solution with a different perspective tends to lead to a better outcome.

4) Decisions are not always simple

The everchanging business environment is especially challenging – and exciting – because every situation is unique.

Business leaders cannot simply lean on what they had done in the past, as the macroeconomic environment is constantly changing. High inflation rates, a strong labour market and economic uncertainty all around, being a business leader might be the most the difficult it has ever been.

Taking a decision should not always be black or white, as there can be countless right – and wrong – decisions to take. Instead of thinking whether something is right or wrong, business leaders must look at a solution as to whether it is better or the best one possible.

A decision does not always bring about the results that one had anticipated, and this can make abandoning it tempting. However, successful leaders are those who can push through the noise, fear and decision fatigue in order to unite their teams and align them to the mission and move the business forward.

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