The most underrated skill is the ability to make decisions. It’s not something that is as prized as the more obvious technical skills and soft skills that people often look to improve upon. But it should be. The reason I think this is the case is because decision-making often falls to the hands of leadership. This could be a leader that is appointed or one that emerges naturally. Decision-making by committee, while popular, is not necessarily sustainable in a fast-moving operation. Young people are often not chosen as leaders by default, as a result, most people don’t get to have any experience with making decisions until later in their careers.
Making a decision is always going to be better than making no decision. With indecision, we starve ourselves of the opportunity to learn. The beauty of making a decision, whether it bears positive or negative results is the opportunity to then learn from it. With making no decision, or staying with the status quo, it is very easy to think that “oh yeah, I would’ve totally made that decision now”. As cliché as it is, hindsight is 20/20. It is hard to fault to a decision made in the moment and perhaps without all the information. In the real world, where the stakes are high, that is the norm.
There is also another perspective that comes with assessing decisions made under pressure. If we assume that the decision-maker’s heart was in the right place, then we cannot then criticise them if they make a “wrong” decision. It is tough enough to make a decision under pressure in the first place. If the decision happened to be deemed “wrong” then that is an issue of experience, not of any kind of intention or incompetence. Sometimes that’s just how the cookie crumbles and will serve as valuable experience I am sure.
Like anything else, there is no other way to improve than to do you reps. Make more decisions, and be willing to make the decisions with higher and higher stakes. No doubt some will turn negative results, but the process will make learning from those much easier and much more effective.