What Are Decision-Making Skills And Why Do You Need Them

We all make decisions every day, consciously or unconsciously. Whatever you are doing right now, or at any other time is a decision you made.

While basic decisions like seeing a movie or taking the trash out may necessarily not take a toll on you, critical organizational decisions of hiring an employee or downsizing require creativity, reasoning, and intuition, among others.

As such, you need to understand what decision-making skills are and how to apply them in the workplace.

Moreover, the ability to make excellent decisions is a valued skill in organizations. Employers highly rate employees who have the ability to make critical decisions that guarantee success and growth.

Not only that, decision-making encompasses a host of skills, so applicants who can demonstrate excellent decision-making skills on their CV are at an advantage during the hiring process.

Learn what decision-making skills are, their examples, how to improve your decision-making skills, and how to highlight this skill in your CV in this article.

Definition of Decision-Making Skills

These are the skills that help an individual choose the best option between alternatives for the purpose of achieving optimal results. It is the ability to figure out which option is right to solve a problem as well as develop and implement strategies to solve it.

It is a well-sought-after skill in organization. From hiring to product development to diversification to cost maximization, to customer satisfaction, virtually every aspect of organizational operation requires decision-making.

Hence, it is a skill relevant to any type of job regardless of the position.  A typical example is when a manager is tasked with the responsibility of promoting one out of five candidates.

In such an instance, you need to carefully examine every individual and choose someone who can go on to become the best performer in the organization.

Examples of Decision-Making Skills

1. Problem-solving and Creativity

One of the significant marks of an employee with excellent decision-making skills is the ability to proffer solutions to problems in the organization.

When the organization is facing a challenge, great decision-makers can help them with ideas to solve them.

Also, the ability to come up with new ideas that help the organization do old things in a new way depicts excellent decision-making skills.

2. Judgment skills

Judgment skill is the ability to choose what is right in a controversial situation. It also involves upholding the ethics and values of the organization while taking decisions.

As such, the ability to pass outstanding judgments is an integral part of decision-making skills. It also involves critically looking at situations before concluding on what is true or false.

3. Emotional Intelligence

Decision-making involves being empathetic. As such, you’d be able to make decisions that are not subject to emotions. You’d also be able to consider others while making decisions.

4. Reasoning

This is the ability to think objectively before making decisions. It involves weighing your options, analyzing the circumstances surrounding them, and considering the pros and cons of different alternatives before selecting which one is best.

5. Intuition

Excellent decision-making skills involve having great instincts. The ability to factor in your experiences and knowledge while being faced with numerous options is a crucial element for decision-making.

6. Foresight

Foresight is the ability to see into the future and make adequate preparations for it. While many individuals cannot see far, decision-makers need the ability to see afar and make decisions to cater to whatever is coming or create opportunities for them.

7. Leadership

The greatest responsibility that comes with leadership is decision-making. Whether as the CEO of an organization, manager, supervisor, or department head, you’d need to make decisions frequently.

In addition, regardless of the position of an employee, your ability to come up with excellent decisions on the job proves leadership.

How to Demonstrate Decision-Making Skills at Work

As said earlier, employers value employees who can demonstrate strong decisions making skills in the organization. This is because this set of individuals relieves employers of the stress of bothering over decision-making.

So, if you are looking at becoming a valued member of the organization, here is a list of steps that will help you in demonstrating noticeable decision-making skills:

1. Define the problem

The first step to making critical decisions in the organization is to know and understand the problem. This is crucial in determining what should be dealt with, and also identifying the root cause of the problem.

Furthermore, defining the problems involves knowing the causes of the problem, and defining the boundaries of the problem within the organization; the effects, and key stakeholders.

In addition, you have to analyze the future developments of such problems so that the organization can avoid them. Lastly, you can’t actually know what solutions to put in place, if the problem is not clearly defined.

2. Come up with a variety of options

After carefully defining the problem, what is next is to highlight possible solutions to tackle the problem. What this part involves is brainstorming for as many solutions as you can.

As a leader, you may also include creative minds in the organization or your team members. Through this, you get a diversity of ideas and a broad list of rich options to choose from.

3. Consider all your alternatives

Once you have highlighted all the possible solutions, you need to weigh them one after the other. You’d need to analyze each alternative by asking relevant questions such as:

  • To what extent is the impact of this solution (long or short term)?
  • What is the cost of the solution?
  • Will the solution have a side effect on the organization?
  • Will the solution come from within the organization or externally? etc.

Carefully providing answers to these questions will help you figure out what alternatives to totally take out and those which you should further look into.

4. Choose the best option

This involves making a decision on which of the alternatives you’d follow. Obviously, you want to pick the best option that will guarantee optimal results.

Moreso, if you do your assignment very well, then you are likely to choose the best alternative.

5. Plan and execute

Planning involves setting up actionable steps to achieve a goal. You don’t want to jump into solving a problem without coming up with strategies to implement them.

As such, it is imperative that you decide and highlight a step-by-step approach to tackling the problem. Also, you must have clear-cut goals and objectives as this will help in assessing the success of your decision.

After concluding with plans, you can go ahead to implement them. However, this will require proficient project management and organizational skills.

6. Monitor and evaluate the outcome

This is the part where you assess to what extent the solution implemented has met its goals and objectives. This is very crucial because it helps you to know if your plan is going accordingly or not.

Additionally, you can easily optimize your strategies or seek better options if you are not getting the desired result.

How to Improve Your Decision-Making Skills

1. Consider the opinion of others

Great decision-makers are not autocratic. Instead, they are humble enough to respect the opinion of others, regardless of their position in the organization.

Nobody is an island of knowledge and the truth remains that your opinion cannot always be the best. As such, it is crucial to be open to the view of others rather than discard them.

This way you can always come up with solutions or decisions that are not only better but also employee-oriented.

2. Be alert to your sentiments

While making decisions, it is possible that you become subjective about them. Hence, you need to be alert and careful to weigh your emotional and sentimental standpoints while making decisions.

Sometimes, your values or belief system may cloud your judgment. So, it is better for you to assess whatever decision you want to make, to be sure that it is free of sentiments and emotions.

3. Set smart goals

While planning on your chosen solution, it is imperative that you set a smart goal. SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.

In essence, by setting goals and putting numbers to them you’d be able to know if your efforts are actually paying off. For instance, if the goal is to increase traffic to the organization’s website, you can make it smart by saying:

  • To increase traffic to the organization’s website by 40% within six months

4. Make provisions for risks and uncertainties

Planning without making provisions for risks or uncertainties is inadequate and can lead to failure. While making decisions, you should have a plan A, B, C, and D if possible.

This is because anything can happen and your plan may fall out of place. Hence, you need to be ready for whatever may happen.

Also, it requires that you have the foresight to envisage possible mishaps and make adequate provisions for them.

5. Accept your mistakes and learn from them

Humans are imperfect and we cannot always be right. As such, you may make wrong decisions sometimes. However, your approach is what matters in such situations.

The inability to accept your flaws will make you unteachable and unable to learn. So, to become better at decision-making, you should be open to accepting your mistakes and learning from them. 

How to Highlight Your Decision-Making Skills

To gain the attention of recruiters as a job applicant, you must be able to proficiently articulate your decision-making skills whether in your resume, cover letter, or during the interview stage.

Let us consider how you can do that in this part of the article:

1. How to highlight decision-making skills on a résumé or cover letter

The first step to getting employed for a job or qualifying for the next step of the hiring process is dependent on how well you illustrate your skills in your resume and cover letter.

First, do not merely list your skills on the resume. Employers want you to show or prove the skills you claim to possess. So, to do this, you should illustrate what you achieved by taking critical decisions in the organization.

For instance, as an accountant, you can highlight a situation where you were assigned the responsibility of saving a particular amount of money within a short time frame and how you switched to Fresh Books and saved 25% on accounting costs.

For entry-level applicants, you should illustrate an event or occurrence where you had to make decisions during an internship, volunteering programs, or in a leadership position you held in school including the outcome of your decision.

2. How to highlight your decision-making skills during interviews

Interviews involve providing relevant and convincing answers to questions asked. As such, when the opportunity comes for you to talk about your skills and experience, you should emphasize those events you already highlighted in the resume and more achievements if you have.


What should you not do while making decisions?

While making decisions, make sure that it is not based on sentiments or personal beliefs. Also, do not discard the opinions of others.

Why are decision-making skills important?

The workplace is moving at a fast pace such organizations need those who are skilled in making quick and effective decisions that guarantee success.

What are some examples of decision-making skills?

They include the ability to judge rightly, problem-solving, reasoning, intuition, creativity, etc.

What is the most important phase of decision-making?

The most important phase of decision-making is implementing the plan.


The benefit of having great decision-making skills as an employee cannot be overemphasized. Hence, you should consciously seek to develop them.

Also, for entry-level graduates seeking employment, make sure to illustrate your decision-making skills clearly in your resume to better your chances of landing jobs.

In addition, you can develop this skill from wherever you are as an employee. Therefore, try to engage in activities or take up tasks of your own volition.

Lastly, I urge you to check the article on what are employability skills to have insight into other types of skills you need to get a job.

I hope this article helped. Thanks for reading.