You are required to make decisions everyday. Some are small and insignificant, yet others have enormous implications for your personal brand, career, relationships and happiness.
Sometimes you make mistakes and bad decisions. You may have blind spots, areas in the decision-making process you tend to miss or ignore. These blind spots may be linked to personal preferences for taking in and evaluating information.
If you are not familiar with the personality type preferences, you can find a description of them on the Introducing Type page on my website.
When deciding, ask yourself the following questions. Your answers, based on personality preferences, and the tips provided with each question, will help you make better decisions.
Do you prefer action or reflection?
Figure out if you prefer to act then reflect (*extraversion) or reflect then act (introversion). Each style has advantages and disadvantages.
If you prefer extraversion, you may have the advantage of quickly assessing and responding to a situation. However, you may act too quickly, making decisions you later regret. Challenge yourself to reflect longer on a decision before acting.
If you prefer introversion, you may have the advantage of making careful, well-thought-out decisions. However, you may act too slowly, missing out on opportunities. If there is an important opportunity on the table, challenge yourself to decide and take action more quickly.
What information do you consider?
Do you prefer to focus on the facts and short-term implications of your decisions (sensing) or are you more interested in the possibilities and long-term consequences (intuition) of choices?
If you prefer sensing you likely are tuned into the realities of your situation. Your decisions tend to be practical. However, you may make a decision that works well now, but doesn’t improve your situation in the long run. Challenge yourself to consider how your decision will affect your future.
If you prefer intuition you likely see many options when deciding. This approach helps you prepare for future possibilities. However, you may become enthralled with an idea and pay less attention to important facts and details. Challenge yourself to link the possibilities you can imagine with the realities of your situation.
What is most important when deciding?
There are two ways to evaluate information when deciding. Some people prefer to use a logical approach (thinking) while others prefer to consider how the decision will personally affect them, and those close to them (feeling).
If you prefer thinking you likely analyze pros and cons. You probably make clear criteria to use when evaluating your choices. However, you may miss the subtle influences your choices have on personal relationships and the people who are important to you. Challenge yourself to think about how your choices affect you personally as well as logically.
If you prefer feeling you likely consider others as well as personal factors when deciding. You tend to make choices that maintain harmony and serve your personal values. However, you may not pay as much attention to logical pros and cons. Challenge yourself to analyze the implications and consequences of your choices.
How quickly do you decide?
Some people prefer to decide and move forward (judging) while others like to keep their options open (perceiving).
If you prefer judging you probably seek closure. You will likely decide as soon as possible and accomplish many things in a short time. However, you may end up moving quickly in the wrong direction. Challenge yourself to take in and consider more information before deciding.
If you prefer perceiving you are probably content to take in more information before deciding. You are likely flexible and comfortable with change. However, you may not make decisions quickly. Challenge yourself to decide and move forward.
What’s the best way to decide?
Knowing how you prefer to decide and identifying your blind spots helps you make better choices. The best decisions use all your preferred and non-preferred approaches; balancing action and reflection, attending to facts and possibilities, being logical and personal, and making flexible decisions that you can change after considering new information.
(*Personality type theory uses this spelling of extraversion)
Donna Dunning, PhD, is a psychologist, certified teacher, member of the MBTI ® International Training Faculty, and director of Dunning Consulting Inc. She is the author of more than a dozen publications, including her two newest books, 10 Career Essentials and What’s Your Type of Career? 2nd edition. Donna’s guiding principle is: Know yourself, respect differences, learn and grow. Follow Donna on Twitter and Facebook and visit her website.