How can I get my boss to make a decision?
Dear Someone Else’s Dad, Our manager is super busy in new her role, but she seems to freeze when we ask her to make decisions. She’ll hear us out and nod her head, but then nothing happens. Typically we’ll hear from the stakeholders who want to know what our team has decided, and we have to say, “Sorry no decision has been made” since we feel we can’t call our boss out for the delay. How can we get her to make decisions?
Always on Hold
Dear Always on Hold, Hmm, good point. I'll think about it. See you later. Yeah the non-decider can be a pain to deal with, especially when you have other people who desperately need an answer. Decision-making is tough for some people who have recently been promoted since they want to make a mark and not mess up. Here are some suggestions:
Some people need the best advice from the most experienced people before making a choice. If this is the case, you can do your homework before you ask her for a decision. Perhaps you could say, “I’ve spoken to the legal and compliance teams, who both agree that moving forward with this initiative will reduce our exposure to risk better than any other alternative.”
Other people may need a bit of prodding with a critical, non-random deadline. If you can demonstrate the high stakes of the issue and perhaps a penalty of missing the deadline she might kick into decision-making mode. “We need to let the Asian team know by Thursday at 7 AM our time at the latest because they’ll be closed for their long weekend, and they won’t be able to keep the offer alive.”
I love making up hypothetical high stakes scenarios, but I hope they help you in getting your boss to make timely decisions. Best of luck, SED