This week the Wall Street Journal published a special report titled, “Inside the Executive Brain.” The material addresses topics such as how executives approach the decision-making process.

For example, how do the most effective leaders make the best decisions? While it’s important to gather the facts and logically analyze relevant data, it’s also critical to incorporate your intuition, which itself is based on your cumulative years of experience.

There are two key components to decision making: 1) analytical thinking and 2) social thinking – and social thinking is more important than you may assume.

The difference between an “average leader” and an “exceptional leader” is often determined by the ability to view a problem from multiple perspectives, which involves not only getting input from key stakeholders, but also thinking about how a wide variety of people will respond to your decision.

A dilemma for those in leadership positions is that individuals are often predisposed to applying either analytical thinking or social thinking when making decisions. However, the key to success is cultivating skills in both areas.

Another key element of effective leadership is the ability to inspire people. The key here is to stay positive (use the carrot, not the stick); the most effective leaders inspire people with encouragement and positive praise.

Related to successful inspiration is the ability to articulate a vision. Ideally, you want your people to be able to clearly see the big picture of where the decision is taking them and where the organization is going. This is critical to getting people to buy into your strategy.

This special report from WSJ includes several articles by experts on topics such as the “Four Qualities of Successful Executives” (decisiveness, confidence, flexibility and humility), and “Why Successful Executives Should be Coaches, Not Generals.”

You can access the information here:

Author: Jim WiederholdJim believes his 39 years of experience--particularly his more than 26 years in healthcare--has prepared him well for what he does. His wealth of experience spans key areas, including finance, operations, management, leadership, sales and sales management, corporate, contingency, contractual and retained recruiting, outplacement and transition work and executive coaching.