Why Dealing with Ambiguity Is Importantposted by Anna Mar, February 16, 2013
Neurosis is the inability to tolerate ambiguity.People cling to information like a frog adrift in the ocean clings to a coconut.
~ Sigmund Freud
When making decisions, people avoid choices for which they're missing information. This sound's reasonable enough. After all, why would you choose something if you're not sure about it?
The problem is that people can be perfectionists when it comes to information for decisions. It has be shown in sociological experiments that missing information causes people to make irrational choices. This is known as the Ambiguity Effect.
The ambiguity effect has numerous business implications for sales, marketing, employee motivation and decision making.
Dealing With AmbiguityIt has been shown in sociological experiments that the ambiguity effect is fairly common. However, it doesn't affect everyone.
Some people are completely comfortable making choices that involve a degree of ambiguity. People can also be trained to make better decisions in ambiguous situations.
In business, ambiguity is the rule not the exception.
Leaders are expected to make timely, logical decisions in the face of ambiguity. This skill is often referred to as "Dealing with Ambiguity".
Dealing with Ambiguity may sound like a fluffy skill but it's important.
One of the basic functions of leadership is to provide certainty to followers — to provide direction. Leaders who freeze in the face of uncertainty aren't leading. Leaders who make bad choices because they can't tolerate ambiguity are destructive.
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