Learn about the autocratic decision-making style and the situations when it’s most appropriate.
The first style of decision-making is autocratic, and this is where decisions are made at the top. Buy-in is not seen as an important aspect of making this decision, and actually, it may be counterproductive to involve a lot of people in making the call. Typically, in an environment where you’re making autocratic decisions, work activities and roles are very tightly structured, they’re monitored, and well-controlled, and command and control is a very important aspect of making these types of decisions. Performance on an autocratic decision is measured based on the individual’s execution of that call.
Allow me to offer an example. At one point, I ran a call center organization and every once in a while, we’d get a pretty angry customer calling in. Now, these were going to be small decisions. Should we offer a refund at that moment? And there was very high urgency on making that call. It’s not like you can tell an upset customer, “Hey, hang on a couple minutes and I’ll get back to you when we actually have a decision.” You need to make the call in that moment, so I empowered my managers to make those autocratic decisions because they were small, there was high urgency, and there was very low risk. If they were wrong, it wasn’t a big deal, and in the broader scheme of things, having that speed and having that decision-making authority pushed down to the lowest level was a critical success factor.
As you look at the decisions of yours that are more autocratic, make sure you’re focused on the speed of the decision as well as the risk that you’re going to take.
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