4 Tips to Avoid Making Emotional Decisions as a Business Leader

The news cycle has been talking about recessions and inflation on an endless loop in recent months. Some days, the news is pretty good. On other days, pundits spend the bulk of their time prophesying the end of the world.

In either case, it’s easy for business owners to feel their emotions stirred up as they sort through all of the news. When that happens, the last thing you want to do is make important decisions while you’re in an unstable frame of mind. 

Here are a few tips to help you avoid emotional decision-making as a business leader.

1. Don’t Just “Follow Your Gut”

“Following your gut” may work in some situations, but when you’re guiding a business, you don’t want to leave things up to a hunch. Sure, use that inner guidance to help you stay aware of things, but never use it to make big decisions.

Instead, take the time to research. Consider all of the data you have available. Create pros and cons lists. In other words, make an effort to inform yourself fully of the situation. That way, you can back up each decision with cold, hard facts that won’t change along with your emotional state.

2. Work Backwards

If you find that you have too many options in a particular situation, it can feel overwhelming trying to find the one that works best. In most cases, you can work backward to avoid a sense of analysis paralysis.

Start by gathering all of your options and making sure you understand each one. Then, begin not by choosing what you’re going to do but by eliminating the things you aren’t going to do. Weed out obvious “no’s” and whittle things down until you have a smaller selection to choose from.

3. Find a Trustworthy Partner

It’s hard to make a decision on your own. Fortunately, in most cases, you don’t have to. Having a business partner can help you talk through your options and avoid letting your personal emotions have too much of an influence on each decision.

If you’re running your business on your own, you can still access this kind of support through a quality third-party partner. For instance, TruLife Distribution regularly provides consulting services for its clients for everything from strategic planning to administrative management, marketing, audits, FDA compliance, and more. Having that extra voice in your ear — either via a co-owner or a third-party support person — can keep your decisions grounded.

4. Give Yourself Time

Finally, don’t make a decision hastily. It may feel like you need to decide things quickly, and there are certainly times when a decision is time sensitive.

However, the vast majority of business-related decisions don’t need to be made as fast as many go-getting business owners feel they should. Resist that temptation to “just decide already” to get something off of your plate. If you’re feeling emotional, hit the pause button and give yourself some time to calm down and think.

From working backward to finding a good partner, avoiding gut decisions, and giving yourself time, there are many ways to avoid letting emotional decision-making derail your company’s success. The first step is recognizing that allowing emotions to get the better of you is a possibility in the first place. Once you’ve done that, use the tips above to give yourself guidelines that can keep your decision-making on the straight and narrow, no matter what crises or opportunities may come your way in the future.