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Mastering the Art of Decision-making: Unveiling Six Strategies for Effective Leadership

Check out these six decision-making styles to lead with confidence and drive results.

TC North //May 23, 2023//

Mastering the Art of Decision-making: Unveiling Six Strategies for Effective Leadership

Check out these six decision-making styles to lead with confidence and drive results.

TC North //May 23, 2023//

“Definiteness of decision always requires courage, sometimes very great courage.” — from “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. Hill studied over 25,000 people who had experienced failure and concluded that lack of decision-making was a top cause.

Leaders in small and medium-sized firms continually make decisions. From major strategic decisions like developing new products/services or acquiring another company to daily task-focused decisions like calling or when to contact a client/customer. The type of decision you make must fit the different scenarios you are in. Every situation is different, but there are six types of decision-making processes that will help you out in nearly any situation you can think of.

READ: Maximize Your Impact: The Power of Intentional Network Building


With consensus, the decision is made only when everyone reaches 100% agreement. The benefit is that everyone fully buys into the decision (unless their agreement wasn’t made honestly). The downside is that it can be a painfully slow process, and even then, sometimes consensus isn’t reached. In fast, fluid teams, it’s often best to strive for consensus. But if not readily reached, consensus that defaults to the leader might be better.

Consensus that defaults to the leader

If you strive to reach a consensus but can’t get everyone on board, the team leader makes the decision. The Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS®), a leadership and management system specifically crafted for entrepreneurs, uses this decision-making process for all teams. The benefit is that everyone is heard. If consensus isn’t reached after ample discussion, the leader makes the call, and the team or organization moves forward. All team members must agree that when a decision is made, everyone is 100% in (regardless of their agreement, or disagreement during the discussion). It’s almost always better to make a decision than not — you can usually correct it if it doesn’t work.


This decision is made by majority vote. The process is good with tremendously large numbers of people, like electing public officials. In my experience, however, it isn’t effective for leadership teams or any teams in a company.

Individual with input

This is a highly effective process in which the decision-maker asks others for their input. The others understand they aren’t involved in making the decision — they’re just giving their opinion to help a colleague, or boss with an important decision they need to make. 

Individual without input

Some decisions don’t affect others, so one person makes the decision. This is both effective and efficient. For example, when you have to go to the restroom — you don’t ask, just go!

The Harry Truman decision-making process

The 33rd President of the United States made some of the most difficult decisions in U.S. history. When tackling big, individual decisions, try Harry Truman’s three-step process (they need to be done fully and in the following order):

Step 1. The logical decision

Gather the best information from subject matter experts. (Be careful: remember that garbage in [bad data, opinions, or misinformation] gives you garbage out [bad decisions]). Make a detailed pros-and-cons list and determine your logical decision.

Step 2. The emotional decision

Search your heart for your emotional decision. It’s usually a strong response.

Step 3. The intuitive decision

After realizing your emotional decision, stop thinking about your decision and allow your mind to work on the problem silently in the background. Your intuitive decision can’t be rushed, you must let it emerge. You may find your intuitive message in the pit of your stomach as Truman did, or it could be a quiet sense of knowing (that’s how I experience them). They are not strong like your emotional decision; they require you to pay attention to your body and have a quiet mind. Intuitive messages are experienced differently for everyone.

Truman decided to drop the atomic bomb which essentially ended World War II. He said that his decision in Step 2 of his process (the emotional decision) was to not drop the bomb; he hated the idea. However, his intuition was different, and he followed that decision. Regardless of the logical and/or emotional decisions, always go with your intuitive decision. It’s a deep, subconscious integration of what your whole mind thinks is best. It takes courage to make the tough decisions!


Head Shot CloseTC North, PhD is a Certified EOS Implementer®, EOS franchise owner. He is co-author of the best-selling book, “Fearless Leaders,” an international speaker and Techstars All-Star Mentor/Coach. He has coached 100s of entrepreneurs to become high-performers and in recent years he has helped two entrepreneurs go from years of frustration and flat revenues to become members of the Inc. 5000 fastest-growing private companies in the US.