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Four Commandments of Delegation

Enlightened leaders know the importance of delegating decisions to individuals and teams they lead. Effective delegation leads to greater engagement, stronger ownership, commitment and accountability. Even more importantly, complex situations require distributed decision-making rather than centralized decisions. As L. David Marquet (Retired Captain, US Navy) says in his book Turn The Ship Around, “Don’t move information to authority, move authority to the information.”

But delegation means much more than just saying “you decide”; that’s just shirking your responsibility. Here are my Four Commandments of Delegation.

  1. Clarity

  2. Constraints

  3. Coaching for Competency

  4. Consultation

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Clarity: Create clarity on the goal, intent, and scope of the decision being delegation. Provide all relevant information.

Constraints: What are the limits on budget, time, people involved, etc.

Coaching for Competency: Invest time to teach the skills necessary for your delegate to be confident in their decision.

Consultation: Be approachable to give guidance if requested

Proper delegation can be more difficult than just making the decision yourself, but if you want to cultivate a highly effective team, it’s worth the investment.