On Jan 12, 2011
Of course, good leaders want to:
- Do a good job at delegating authority for decision making
- Empower people so they are motivated to expand their decision making
Here are a couple of important considerations:
- Delegation must be consistent…people need to be told the rules and the extent of their authorities
- Delegation must be communicated…it is not enough to say “Our people are empowered to make decisions”. It is important to ensure people understand how and when their authorities should be exercised. It is important to ensure people understand your decisions can be questioned…’within bounds’.
How should we go about setting up Decision-Making authorities so people are empowered?
Leaders - here is simple way to approach this: consider the people who directly report to you then have those people perform the same exercise for the people reporting to them.
According to Brian Tracy1
there are 3 types of decisions:
- Command Decisions: decisions made by the Leader alone
- Consultative Decisions: decisions made by the Leader after the Leader has consulted with his/her direct reports [and other folks, as required]
- Consensus Decisions: decisions where the Leader delegates the decision-making authority to his/her Leadership team…i.e., like the others, the Leader gets a single vote
As mentioned above, communication is important. The first step is informing everyone you think it makes sense to follow Brian Tracy’s advice and use 3 types of decisions. After that, start by saying, “This is a consultative decision” or “This is a consensus decision” or “This is a command decision”. This probably will not be required because people will understand the decision type by the way you introduce the decision. On the other hand, there is no harm in making sure by saying things like “I would like to consult you about this” or “Can we come to group consensus about this” or “I have made the following decision’. When in doubt – over-communicate.
About Command Decisions
: I have told people I have a 10-3-1 Guideline
- For every 10 [command] decisions I make I expect about 3 will be questioned
- For every 10 [command] decisions I make I expect about 1 to be strongly resisted
It seems to me 10-3-1 is about the right ratio. When I make command decisions I will make mistakes…hopefully, I do not err more than 3 times out of 10 decisions. If I do then I shouldn’t be the boss. Occasionally I will make a glaring mistake…hopefully; I do not do that more than 1 time out of 10 decisions. My communication of the 10-3-1 ratio is an effort to ensure everyone is comfortable questioning my decisions…’within bounds’.
According to Dale Carnegie...
"When Theodore Roosevelt was in the White House, he confessed that if he could be right 75 percent of the time, he would reach the highest measure of his expectation."
Roosevelt's 75%... that supports the selection of 3 in 10-3-1...or, at least, it suggests having 3 of 10 decisions questioned is in the right ballpark.