The tenth tactic no-decision managers use to avoid decision making is what I call ‘announce an action’. This has a double objective, the first is to encourage subordinates to think that a decision, if not imminent, will eventually be made, and the second is to have a period of peace without being pestered for a decision. This tactic is often used after the no-decision manager’s subordinates have pressured them heavily to decide.
In its simplest form announcing an action occurs when the no-decision manager sets a deadline, or apparently sets a deadline, maybe saying something like:
‘I will make the decision next week.’
Next week comes and goes and no decision is made.
It takes time to understand that a no-decision manager is never stressed by any deadline. No amount of pressure to hurry an urgent decision will affect them. A deadline exists only to be postponed and rescheduled after they have enjoyed the moment of missing the first one. Effective no-decision managers are able to change deadlines three or four times before finally not making the decision.
When normal managers announce an action they usually have the intention to carry it out and almost always do. No-decision managers use it to avoid decision-making and never carry the action whatever it may be, because this is in itself is a decision.
Effect on subordinates
Even experienced subordinates are taken in by this announcement, hoping at last that their no-decision manager will at last decide something. But of course they never do.