Indecisive vs. Decisive Personality Traits

How to work with an introvert vs extrovert

Whether a person has an indecisive or decisive personality goes a lot deeper than how long they take to order lunch. At work, this trait plays out in how people make business decisions, the level of risk they’re comfortable with, and how they present to others.

We’re going to break down what an employee’s decisiveness (or lack thereof) might mean at work. But remember: this is just one piece of the personality puzzle, and our other personality trait descriptions can help you get a fuller picture.

What is an indecisive personality?

Someone who is indecisive has trouble making decisions. People who are only somewhat indecisive may take their time with decisions and want to consider their options before moving ahead. Extremely indecisive employees may keep waffling on choices that have already been made — or even put off making decisions for so long that they run out of time.

What are the characteristics of an indecisive person?

  • They have a hard time making decisions and may be very stressed when they have to do it.
  • They’re more easily influenced by others with strong opinions (and may even prefer someone else make the final call).
  • They may lack confidence in their decisions, even after the choice is made.
  • They carefully consider all the options and weigh the pros and cons of each.

How to work with someone who has an indecisive personality

Your indecisive employees can help your team slow down and consider all of the options before moving on — or they can add unnecessary stress. Knowing how to work with indecisive people can make a big difference.

How to train an indecisive employee
  • Remember that making decisions will tax indecisive employees. In training, minimize any unnecessary choices so that the employee can focus on the task at hand.
  • Offer guidance that will help employees make decisions efficiently. For example, do they know who to go to with questions about certain subject areas? Do they know which issues require outside help, and when they’re expected to make executive decisions?
How to motivate someone who is indecisive
  • Prevent decision fatigue. Allow your employees who tend towards indecision to focus on the most important choices for their role.
  • For team assignments and collaborative projects, consider how the different personalities will interact when you can. Indecisive people sometimes benefit from having a decisive colleague to keep them moving along, while other times, they need more space to talk through all the options without feeling rushed.
How to give feedback to an indecisive employee
  • Make it clear when indecision is creating a business problem, such as missed deadlines or inefficient management.
  • Sometimes, indecisive employees will need to be coached on presenting their ideas confidently, especially outside the team. Don’t be afraid to give this feedback in your one-on-one sessions.

What is the opposite of being indecisive?

On the flip side, you’ll also have employees who showcase a decisive personality trait.

What is a decisive personality?

Decisive people are confident decision-makers. They tend to make up their minds more quickly and stick with their chosen course of action.

What are the characteristics of a decisive person?

Here are a few signs that you’re working with someone who is decisive:

  • They make decisions more quickly and don’t seem to stress over them.
  • They’re confident making decisions.
  • They tend to be more comfortable with risk, especially if it’s an informed risk.
  • They can be resistant to change once they’ve made a decision

How to work with someone who has a decisive personality

Decisive people bring confidence and efficiency that can benefit the whole team. Being aware of their decisive personality trait can help you leverage it for success, as well as watching out for a few potential pitfalls.

How to train a decisive employee
  • People who tend to be decisive sometimes grow impatient with perceived inefficiencies or delays. In training, keep things moving along at a reasonable pace; you can always check in to see if the person would like you to slow down or review.
  • Train your decisive employees on when they do need to slow down, wait on making a decision, or loop in a colleague.
How to motivate someone who is decisive
  • Decisive people grow frustrated when the decision-making process takes too long. They’ll be more motivated when the process moves quickly; if it can’t, keep them in the loop on delays.
  • Consider decisive people for roles or projects that involve independent decision-making, where they’ll be able to put their personality trait to good use.
How to give feedback to a decisive person
  • Acknowledge areas where decisiveness paid off, as well as times when they may have benefited from slowing down or investigating more alternatives.
  • You may need to deliver feedback about how they communicate with less decisive peers, who will communicate their ideas much differently. Don’t let a confident decision-maker steamroll the contributions and ideas from those who aren’t as decisive.

Which is a better worker: indecisive vs. decisive?

While decisiveness is usually perceived as a virtue (and indecision as a vice), it’s important to remember that these traits exist on a spectrum. Extreme indecisive personalities and extreme decisive personalities can both present challenges. Some roles do require more decisiveness. In others, indecision won’t present a problem, especially if the employee takes steps to manage it.

Remember: decisiveness (or indecisiveness) as a personality trait doesn’t necessarily correlate with good business judgment. Be sure to consider your employee or applicant’s track record independently of this trait.

And finally, be sure to view this trait in the context of where employee or applicant falls on the 4 personality types, as well as other major traits that are relevant to the role.

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