As a decorated soldier tracking down warlords and facing the brutal reality of a Middle-East war, not many have a greater understanding when it comes to making decisions in times of crisis and the growth that comes from sudden leadership opportunities, than Matina Jewell.

The accountability that comes with decision making can often create confusion, stress and decision paralysis for leaders “every decision we make, both in business and our personal lives, carries some element of risk”, Matina explained.

Whilst serving as a UN Peace Keeper, Matina commanded a convoy of armoured vehicles through the war zone, coming under attack by fighter jets. As the leader and commander, she understood the seriousness of her actions, “the decisions I was making there, would not only impact myself, but the lives of 16 infantry soldiers”.

Faced with the toughest decision of her life, whether to keep going or turn back – Matina demonstrated a logical, rational thought process with a framework guiding decisions. This same framework Matina now applies to business.

  • Assess the pros and cons of each option and then
  • Review each of the aspects involved in the decision; your training, skills, previous experiences, instinct, support, time and team input
Leadership in Action framework Image source: supplied. Decision Management framework as part of Matina's Leadership in Action online program.

Having a process provides clarity to justify your decisions. “Empowering our people to be more decisive, will make them feel more effective and in turn creates more responsive and nimble organisations”, as well as a culture of leadership across all levels of a business.

“Most of us at some point in our career will find ourselves in a situation where we’re required to step up and lead, even if it’s not our job, it’s not our role or responsibility”.

Across industries, Matina has observed people being promoted high within organisations as a result of their technical skills. Without previous training and experience in senior leadership positions, this ‘sudden leadership’ can take a huge amount of courage to step into.

At just 23 years of age, Matina came to understand the impacts of sudden leadership being tasked with commanding the amphibious offload of 1000 soldiers whilst fulfilling multiple senior leadership roles and responsibilities. Regardless of the situation, Matina’s number one tip is to take a deep breath and give yourself permission to have a go.

“Often we place extreme pressures on ourselves in terms of success and failure” said Matina. By removing the pressure of failure we can find the courage and stand forward. Often it is when we are pushed outside of our comfort zones and encouraged to try new things that we have our greatest learnings and experiences.

It is important that leaders find these opportunities for their teams, to enhance their learning and give them the courage to step forward and try different things.

Since being medically discharged from the military, Matina now draws on her experiences in some of the toughest environments for her online learning program, Leadership in Action, to help organisations build strong and resilient teams.

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  • This article represents opinions and views of the interviewees personal experiences only.  It does not have regard to the situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as advice. It is not intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. Before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances. Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124.