4 approaches to leadership decision-making: which one is the most suitable for you

Robert Frost wrote, “Two roads diverged in a wood and I chose the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference”. Unfortunately, however, not every decision is so simple that the business owner can say: “Let’s just go this way and see where it takes us”, especially when it comes to important business decisions.

The results of a study conducted at the University of Columbia have brought to the conclusion that each individual makes around 70 conscious decisions on a daily basis, not counting the inevitable routine ones. Some researchers say that this number is much higher and that the number of daily decisions made goes up to 35.000.

Business owners go through the decision-making process every day. Regardless of whether they are leading a small team or a large corporation, their success depends on the number of profitable decisions they are able to make, and how well they can learn from the bad ones.

Directive type of decision making

This type of leader makes decisions independently, based on his/her own experience and knowledge, without the need to hear other people’s opinions on the topic. This personality type is generally able to rationally balance between benefits and shortcomings, make a choice and only then familiarize others with the project.

These are the people that naturally take on the leadership role within a group. They know what they want, they know what the best way is to achieve that, and they point others towards reaching business goals. This type of leader likes to hold the strings in his/her hand, and they feel more effective when making decisions independently. They use rules, procedures, and previously achieved results to form future decisions and strategies. Team members see leaders of this type as rational and prudent.

This decision-making style is suitable for when decisions need to be made quickly when there is no time for meetings and consensus, and when there is generally one direction to take, in accordance with the rules, processes, and previous situations.

Analytical type of decision-making

Analytical leaders cannot imagine making decisions quickly. If you belong to this personality type, you will always take your time to consider all the facts and options before making a decision. This leadership type requires all relevant information such as data, observations, facts, experiences, and thoughts.

This approach can take up a lot of time, but it is studious and methodic which results in a decision backed up by information and facts.

Analytical style of decision making is suitable for when there are a lot of options, allowing the person to be creative while looking for the solution. Furthermore, this style can be useful in situations when additional perspective and information from various sources are needed.

Behavioral type of decision making

This decision-making style takes into consideration the feelings of other people when a change needs to be made. For leaders who make decisions this way, the best decision is the one that meets the needs of the entire team but is also in accordance with their vision.

This type of leader wants the team to react positively to changes that need to be made, so it is not uncommon for the leader to ask for advice, and make the final decision based on the team’s reactions. Team members will often refer to this leader as flexible, pragmatic, and considerate of his coworkers’ opinions.

The behavioral style is great for situations with little probability for conflict or disagreement. It can also be used when there is no one right decision, rather when the goal is to find the most popular solution that everyone agrees with.

Conceptual type of decision making

For this type, making decisions is not a stressful process – the opposite – it is a chance for creative solutions and thinking outside of the box. Conceptual decision-making means that the focus is on the future and the effect that the change or decision can have on the team or the client. Not only the current state is analyzed, but also the consequences and effects of certain decisions months or years in advance.

Generally, this personality type is a catalyst for ideas in the team, and team members see him/her as a visionary with a holistic approach to challenges. It is common for this type to look at the bigger picture to be able to experiment with strategies.

When there is instability and an undefined end result, conceptual style comes forward. It is suitable for situations that do not require a response or instant result that needs to make a big difference. This personality type likes to experiment, keep trying, and making mistakes until he/she reaches the right decision.


Most business owners are the hybrid personality type, which consists of two or more types and depends on the client that he/she is working with, the company’s organizational structure, and the project’s final deadline.

Style can change depending on the project and the time needed for its completion. Although it is useful to know which styles suit you best, they are here to help you understand your behavior, to improve it and advance it, and not to use it as a way to improve yourself, and not as an approach to developing the company culture.

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