- What is meant by decision making?
- Importance of decision making for students.
- Factors to be considered while making decisions
- How to improve decision making skills for students?
Decision making is the process of deciding or selecting a particular course of action especially when there is uncertainty involved. It is a cognitive process, which means it involves the mental power of a particular individual.
So Why Should Students Learn Decision Making Skills?
In the course of life, there will be many instances where you will be at cross roads. Meaning, that you will be at a junction where you have many options before you.
Each option may be very different from each other. The decision to opt for one particular option over the other, may alter your future prospects for life. Therefore, learning decision making skills for students is of utmost importance.
Importance of Decision Making Skills for Students and Their Consequences
1. Game Changer
Making a decision can be a total game changer. At times, a single decision you make can change your life forever. Decisions determine your destiny.
For example, you have just finished your tenth grade and you have to make a decision regarding what stream you would like to choose for your Pre-university.
This can be a tough decision for students, because some students may still be undecided, at that age, with regard to what they want to pursue.
The decision you make here can alter your career choices at a later stage. That is why decision making skills for students are important.
Another classic example of decision making being a game changer is in the instance of voting for the national leaders of your country.
In a democratic country like India, the citizens of the country vote for their leaders. Here, your decision will be binding and result in the nomination of your country’s Prime Minister. You can notice the importance of good decision making skills.
Your life changes as soon as you make a new and committed decision.
2. Decisions Can Lead to Grave Consequences
If a bad decision is made, it can also lead to grave consequences like legal actions. The corporate world has many such instances where certain decisions led to suit actions by shareholders or other affected people.
This is where the importance of decision making skills comes into play. Making the right decisions at the right time can save you and the organisations from class suit actions.
At the same time, making a bad decision is not the end of everything. Sometimes, making bad decisions may lead to better decisions made later.
It is a kind of learning experience and can only be learnt with experience. Making a big life changing decision can be scary, but not making the decision at all can lead to regret.
Quoting famous American business tycoon, Warren Buffet, “Part of making good decisions in business is recognising the poor ones you’ve made and why they were poor.
I’ve made lots of mistakes. I’m going to make more. It’s the name of the game. You don’t want to expect perfection in yourself. You want to strive to do your best. It’s too demanding to expect perfection in yourself.”
3. Confidence Booster
Good decision making skills are a great confidence booster. Vice versa, a high confidence level leads to better decisions.
Therefore, we can say that confidence and decision making skills are interrelated. When you make good decisions in life you become more and more confident to face difficult situations that may arise.
Now that we know the importance of good decision making skills for students we must know how to develop and improve the decision making skills for students. Let’s see how we can do this in a few simple steps.
Steps Involved In Decision Making Process for Students
1. Identify the Issue
The first step in decision making is to identify the issue at hand. This is a very important step because only after you are able to identify the problem, it is possible to make a decision on it.
You must be able to properly understand the problem and identify what kind of problem it is.
Do not be afraid to ask and question people around you, if you feel that it will clarify and doubts you may have on the problem.
2. Background Research
Once you identify the problem, it is important to do a background research on the problem. This background research might involve a bit of recalling too.
Like trying to recall some points in the meeting that led to the issue being laid down before you. Also being able to do bookish research or internet research might help at this stage.
It is also important to separate and filter out the information that you will need and may not need. Your efficiency depends on how you use researched information.
3. Think out Of the Box
While trying to come to any conclusion, you must think creatively. Thinking out of the box will give you an upper hand when it comes to decision making skills.
4. Keep Your Options Open
While making decisions you must not be rigid. Always keep an open mind when there are more than one approaches to the problem.
Analyse the consequences of each approach you were able to identify. It is best to identify all the alternative paths that can lead to a logical solution to the issue.
Being rigid with a one track mind often makes you lose sight of the better option. The best way to summarize this point would be ‘Stay committed to your decisions but flexible with your approach.’
5. Communicating Your Decisions
Being able to communicate your decision is also an integral part of the decision making skills for students.
A situation may arise where your decision or conclusion was misinterpreted by another person and that misinterpretation has led to an inferior or bad action.
So, it is equally important to be able to communicate your findings in an effective manner.
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6. Helps Students Make Great Career Choices
The importance of decision making skills for students can be felt even at a later stage, like while pursuing a career. A decision you make today may benefit you years later. You can not make progress without making decisions.
7. Personality Determiner
Decision making skills for students provide an insight on your personality. It throws light on your strengths and weaknesses.
8. “Factors to Be Factored” While Making Decisions
As mentioned above one of the reasons why decision making skills are important is because it can be a game changer. That is why we stress on the importance of having good decision making skills.
Here are some factors to be considered before making decisions:
1. Level of Risk Involved While Making Decision
Consequences of a decision you make can have an impact on yourself or on the community at large.
More so, a bad decision can have a terrible impact on you or others. Therefore, before making a decision, you must analyse the level of risk involved and the impact of such a decision.
When you weigh the level of risk you are actually measuring the pros and cons. This is an important step in decision making skills for students.
2. Participation in The Decision Making Process
Sometimes decisions can be made alone. However, many times decisions have to be made only in collaboration with others’ opinions.
This entirely depends on the nature of the problem. Before making a decision, you must ponder over whether others need to be involved in making the decision and to what extent their involvement is justified.
Let’s take a simple example of whether you must join the college campus hostel or travel to the college daily from your home. There are many factors involved in making this decision.
- Firstly, distance that needs to be covered.
- Time taken for commute every day
- Time saved if you stay in the college hostel
- Activities you intend to do in the saved time.
- Amount of money you save and
- Amount of money spent.
These are just some of the factors you will consider before making the decision.
However, there is another important factor and that is, parental or guardian consent.
Here, there will be involvement of another person or group of people while making the decision.
The participation of your parents or guardian in this regard is paramount and cannot be ignored. In this case, the extent of participation is also justified.
3. Basis of Decision
When it comes to finally deciding or concluding your analysis, your decision must be based on logic, reasoning and rationale.
A decision must not be made on your whims or fancies. Every decision must be based on solid and concrete reasoning.
How to Improve Decision Making Skills for Students
Now that we have seen the importance of decision making skills for students, you must now know how to improve and develop your decision making skills.
1. Increase Your General Knowledge
General knowledge is the awareness, understanding and comprehension of facts around you.
General knowledge is accumulated over time through reading, social interactions and experiences. With a good background of general knowledge, you can improve your decision making powers.
2. Consider Various Options
As mentioned earlier, do not make a sudden decision based on a few given criteria. You must consider all possible options and consequences.
Be open to opinions, judgements and beliefs of others before arriving at your own conclusion
3. Pre Determine the Consequences
Another way to improve decision making skills for students is to imagine the results and effects beforehand. This way you can measure if the positive consequences outweigh the negative effects of your decision.
You may not be able to pre-determine the repercussions of your decision completely, but having a rough picture or rough idea will also suffice.
Decisions are the ultimate power. Decisions made today will finally determine your future course of action.
Learning how to make the best decisions requires a number of skills like analysing skills, reasoning and communication skills. The key to good decision making is knowledge and understanding.