Skip to Content

Leiden University Career Zone

Decision making styles
LU Career Zone Labour Market

Decision making styles

What kind of decision maker am I? Everyone has their own way of making certain choices.

Some people make their choices based on their feelings, while others rely more on facts. There is no 'best' way to make decisions, certain styles will probably just suit you better than others. Yet it is worthwhile to find out if it would be helpful to (occasionally) shift your approach towards making a decision. It is useful to be aware of the different decision making styles. Find out what your preferred style is, and what other ways you could employ to make decisions.

Do you recognise your own 'default' style for taking decisions?

I choose sensibly and logically
For logical-rational decision makers, the emphasis lies on logical arguments when taking a decision. They plan their choice well, collect arguments and recognise what seems most logical.

Decisions can become impersonal, as if it were a simple calculation and you no longer have any feeling for what you are deciding on. There is also the danger of endlessly gathering information and comparing options.

Make more room for emotional arguments and subjective experiences of what you like or want, whether this is sensible or not.

I choose based on my feelings
Emotional decision makers listen mainly to their hearts and their feelings when making decisions. What feels good and what makes your stomach hurt?

The risk of deciding based on feelings is that emotions are quite changeable. Emotional-decision makersare therefore often rather fickle and their choices seem to follow the whims of their emotional moods.

To rely more on objective information and arguments for and against a decision.

I choose what comes first
For impulsive decision makers, choosing often does not seem so difficult at all. They just choose what crosses theri paht first f ratever spontaneously seems best. Why do it the hard way if you can do it the easy way? Besides, isn't the first impression usually the most valuable or reliable?

Impulsive decision makers take too little time to think the situation through. They act too quickly and afterwards do not always remember why they made the choice in the first place.

To learn to take more time and overcome their initial impulse by approaching the situation with a more thoughtful consideration.

I choose the safe over the uncertain
The procrastinating decision maker is inclined to choose the safest option and avoid uncertainties. There always is new information to be obtained and why decide now if you don't have to do it right away?

Procrastination is a recipe for disaster. Pondering and weighing up all pros and cons can become an endless process.

Having the guts to make a decision, even if you're not sure about everything yet. Sometimes it is better to make a imperfect choise than do nothing at all.

I know exactly what I want
Firm decision makers always seem to be able to choose very confidently and with conviction. Firm decision makers know exactly what they want and will not be swayed by anything or anyone.

Firm decision makers can come across as very dominant and seem to have little interest in what other people think. This can lead them to disregard valuable insights from fellow students, teachers and parents.

Open yourself up more to the ideas, reactions and thoughts of others, so that you can get a more complete picture of yourself and your decision.

I choose what others want
Compliant decision makers easily adapt to what the group or others want. They tend to disregard their own opninions. By making choices in this way, you will avoid falling outside the group.

You may avoid taking a stand and at some point no longer know what you really want. For instance, you join a friend to an information session about a programme they are interested in and think 'That sounds like something I'd like to do too', without getting further in-depth knowledge or following your own interests.

Stand up more for your own opinions and wishes, and show your own colours. Perhaps occasionally make more out-of-the-box choices.

I choose on the basis of intuition
Intuition is difficult to describe. It is usually used to describe a deeper, 'certain knowledge'. Intuition can be an inspiration that comes to you when you have left a certain issue unanswered for a few days. All our previous experiences and knowledge are stored in the unconscious. The unconscious mind can process two hundred thousand times more information than the conscious mind and therefore has much more information on the basis of which a decision can be taken.

Thinking that your subconscious will do the work, and therefore not making any efforts to make a well-founded decision.

It's certainly good to follow your intuition when you have to make an important decision, but first take a step back and collect all the fact and the information that you need.

Exercise: My choice style
Have you read through all the styles? Then fill in the following questions to find out which choice style you naturally prefer and which other style could help you with your choice of study.

  • Which style(s) of choice do you usually use?
  • Which style would you like to use more?
  • What do you need to be able to use the style mentioned under 2 more often?
  • What are you going to do to use the style mentioned under 2 more often? (Mention concrete actions!)