Young and inexperienced no-decision managers work many months with just three tactics to avoid decision-making. These three are common to all no-decision managers.
The first, which I call ‘permanent procrastination,’ is a pompous name for doing nothing, i.e. procrastinating forever. When presented with a request for a decision by a subordinate, no-decision managers often make no comment to the request for a decision from a subordinate and then do nothing. They just wait. Sometimes, they might acknowledge that a decision needs to be made, by say, a certain date:
“Yes I know.”
But when the date arrives the no-decision manager still makes no decision. Subordinates rarely ask only once for a decision to be made. When it is important for them, they will come to their no-decision boss several times to remind them that they need to decide. A no-decision manager does not decide.
A normal manager, one who takes decisions, might resort to this behaviour, if for instance he or she needs more time to make the decision, or if he or she has other possibly more important decisions to make. But in the end a normal manager will make a decision, no-decision managers do not. They never decide.
Effect on subordinates
Subordinates may be surprised and bewildered if this is the first time they have encountered this type of behaviour. Eventually after being presented by several episodes of permanent procrastination, they will become frustrated. (See articles in the ‘Their Subordinates’ section of this blog)
But this one tactic, on its own, is not viable or sustainable for no-decision managers, so they resort to other decision avoidance tactics. First, a number of simple ones, then gradually as they gain experience, more sophisticated ones.