Most people would consider indecisiveness to be an impediment. Those scoring highly on the Frost Indecisiveness Scale (FIS), for example, generally experience lower levels of satisfaction, both personally and professionally.
Changing the Question
What if this is less a problem of disposition, however, and more a problem of definition? In a recent article, BBC Worklife explored Jana-Maria Hohnsbehn and Iris Schneider’s alternative to the indecisiveness scale – trait ambivalence. Where the FIS focuses on the emotional fallout of indecisiveness, Hohnsbehn and Schneider’s scale focuses on the reason for these delays.
They discovered that those who mull over decisions demonstrate a heightened awareness of different points of view. Consequently, the decisions they do make exhibit fewer biases than those of their more decisive colleagues.
When presented with a statement, decisive individuals attempt to prove it as quickly as possible. More ambivalent individuals, on the other hand, first attempt to disprove it, interrogating the subject from a different perspective. In addition to lower rates of confirmation bias, these individuals also suffer less from correspondence bias – the tendency to assign blame without considering the context.
In general, participants who struggled with decision-making exhibited a greater awareness of the emotions and circumstances of others.
By changing their definition of this behaviour from indecisiveness to ambivalence, Hohnsbehn and Schneider generated a neutral term, describing a distinct and valuable decision-making style.
At Make Happy we use the Basadur Profile to gauge individuals’ approaches to problem-solving. This system gives different qualities and skills equal value, as each represents an essential part of the innovation process. Perhaps we should take a similar approach to decision-making, as more trait-ambivalent team members can consider an idea’s ramifications, while others consider its implementation.