Understanding Decision-making styles

Skills for Work employability videos

Amanda has to make some big decisions in her department. She has to make radical changes and there is the potential for her employees to get upset or angry when they realise how the changes will directly affect them.

English learners can practise decision making through the use of diplomacy, using this video and accompanying resources from the Open Mind Skills for Work series.

More employability skills resources

Video Worksheet  Teacher's Notes


The aim of this video is to help students understand decision-making styles. Exercises based on material from Pre-intermediate to Advanced levels of Open Mind (and the Mind series for American English learners) have been provided in the teacher's notes and worksheet for use alongside the video.

In the first scenario, Amanda has already made all the decisions, and these are non-negotiable. This makes the process quick and decisive, but it leaves her staff feeling negative because their boss doesn’t listen to them. They also feel her decisions are unreasonable.

Following commentary from the life coach in the second scenario, Amanda sits down with her team, explains the problems that the department is facing, and discusses possible solutions with her staff, brainstorming ways to minimise any negative impact of the changes.

This video is not just about implementing changes, which may be unpopular, but about how to effectively make tough decisions that do not leave your colleagues feeling as though they have been treated unfairly - an employability skill that is applicable in many different scenarios.

Tips on using different decision making styles

  • Try a committee-style of decision making to get group buy-in
  • Use distancing language to help keep the discussion neutral, e.g. “the committee felt...”
  • Use conciliatory language to clarify any potential misunderstanding
  • Make sure decisions are properly considered and and provide evidence for them