When Good Intentions Go Wrong: How To Handle Hasty Decision Makers And Still Keep Them Engaged

If you have employees making snap decisions without collaboration or input from other team members, you could be losing thousands of dollars every day. According to a report in the Harvard Business Review, companies lose a significant amount of income when executives, managers, and employees make snap decisions without giving thought to the consequences of their actions, or because they work in a company culture that encourages instant decision making.

Performance management in this environment is difficult for managers because many of these quick decision makers are often the some of the most dedicated and motivated people in a company. The last thing you want to do is stifle their dedication. However, when they are making poor decisions because they believe fast action benefits the business operations, you can’t let this go unchecked. You need to explain that real accomplishment occurs because of collaboration with co-workers, not snap-judgments.

What is the best way to deal with the situation? First, address it at an organizational level. Does your company encourage, either formally or informally, urgency and fast decision making? If so, what is the underlying motivation for this climate? Is it essential?

Subsequently you should identify and work with those employees who make decisions without considering the residual impact.

Is urgency one of your values?

Does your company reward urgent behavior? Do you give out early completion awards or bonuses, or equate fast decisions with excellent or useful choices? If so, you could be fostering a belief in your staff that you want things “done right now,” consequences be damned.

If you discover this is your culture, you may want to rethink it. You could be making trade-offs that are slowing projects and productivity in the long run. Spend some time analyzing some issues that were created by on-the-spot decision making. Consider what alternative outcomes may have materialized if different, more thought out decisions were made.

Effective Performance Management For Those Who Were ‘just Trying To Help!’

Employee performance improvements are hard enough for regular employees. When you need to address performance issues for employees who are enthusiastic and motivated, they can become dreadful.

You have to walk a fine line between praising the employee for their decisiveness and for taking the initiative, but you also have to educate them about the long-term and far-reaching aftermath of poor decisions.

If you find yourself in the position of having to help an employee who makes rash decisions, here are a few ideas to help them redirect their thinking.

  • Encourage teamwork and collaboration when making decisions. Emphasize the fact that involving other people not only leads to better decisions, but it also gives people a better impression of the employee. Their peers see their ability to collaborate as a benefit, not a sign of weakness.

  • Explain that their decisions potentially affect a lot of people at the company, and even the relationships with clients. Highlight the impact of prior decisions, both good and bad ones. Seeing the results of previous decisions lets them learn that they do have an effect and should be prudent when making decisions.

  • Pair the person with another manager in your company who is more measured in their decision-making skills. This allows the employee to experience more nuanced and thoughtful decision making. Plus, it builds the teamwork ethic and exposes them to the benefits of collaboration.

It is difficult to conduct performance management reviews on your most dedicated employees, but it’s possible and, when done right, can be extremely rewards. This is a significant tool for managers and time should be spent to develop this process.

Equal Parts Consulting helps companies to develop effective performance management systems and improve leadership development. This leads to companies operating at higher levels of efficiency without overly taxing their resources.

We invite your questions or comments about this or any other issues your company might be experiencing.