The Liberation Of Making Bad Decisions

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Coastline

When I started managing a team of humans a few years ago I was scared of making wrong decisions. I guess I thought or hoped that all my decisions would be winners. I was quickly disabused of that idea.

I had long gotten over that fear when it came to tech decisions, mostly because some mistakes are inevitable and because software mistakes can (usually) be corrected. Decisions that affected people seemed different somehow. The stakes seemed higher. They seemed more important to always get right the first time.

Welp, one of the great things that parenthood has given me is a healthy relationship with my bad decisions. When you have complete responsibility for another human, the sheer number of decisions you have to make means that many of them won’t be awesome. Just off the top of my head, here’s a recent mulligans: I let the baby try some of my spicy salad (tears and rapid water-gulping followed).

And yet, life goes on. And most decisions actually do turn out well.

All of this has helped me become a better people manager. This equation of “lots of practice making daily decisions + a bunch of them being the wrong one + things still working out ok” ends up taking the fear out of decision-making in other areas of your life and helps you not take the fallout from the bad decisions as personally.

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