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Before you’re faced with a choice that will affect your company’s fortunes, it’s important to have a system of predetermined rules and outside opinions in place.

It is lonely at the top, especially when you have a big decision to make. But as a leader, making a decision by yourself only makes it harder. The pressure soon can soon turn into fear, and you’ll be beset by emotion, unable to make an unclouded decision based on facts.

Freek Vermeulen, author and associate professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the London Business School, says it’s common for smart leaders to make bad decisions–and most of the time, emotions are to blame.

“Whether it’s a personal choice or a strategic business decision, emotions often crowd out objectivity. After all, executives are only human, too,” Vermeulen writes in the Harvard Business Review. “Precisely because strategic choices are such important ones, loaded with anxiety and uncertainty … people start to ‘follow their heart,’ ‘rely on intuition’ and ‘gut feeling,’ overestimate their chances of success, and let their commitment escalate.”

Vermeulen stresses that great leaders cannot allow emotional bonds to obscure sound judgment. Below, read his three tips on how to make sure you never make an emotional decision when the clock is ticking.
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