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The Seven Levels of Delegation


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Delegation is not easy. Managers often fear a loss of control when considering allowing teams to self-organize, and creative networkers sometimes don’t know how to self-organize. A delegation board enables management to clarify delegation and to foster empowerment for both management and workers.

Published in: Business

The Seven Levels of Delegation

  1. 1. The Seven Levels of Delegation
  2. 2. How can we get people to self-organize?
  3. 3. How do we delegate responsibilities?
  4. 4. The English verb “to manage” was originally derived from the Italian maneggiare, meaning to handle and train horses. - Kurtz and Snowden, “Bramble Bushes in a Thicket”
  5. 5. The Self-fulfilling Prophecy Trap People behave according to how they are treated. For example, when the manager always changes what people deliver, why bother making it perfect? Thus, quality of work goes down, and the manager sees confirmation that more control is needed...
  6. 6. To Control or Not to Control Central control of a complex system doesn’t work, because the central node of a network cannot possibly contain all information that is needed to make good decisions everywhere.
  7. 7. Each worker has only an incomplete mental model of all the work. And the same goes for the manager! That is why it’s best to distribute control among everyone.
  8. 8. What scientists call distributed control is usually called empowerment by management experts.
  9. 9. Many people are wrong about empowerment.
  10. 10. The Dictators “Workers should be empowered by managers so that they take on more responsibilities, feel more committed, and be more engaged. The managers decide who is empowered, and who is not.”
  11. 11. A good deal of what is today called “empowerment” is really just getting rid of years of disempowerment. - Henry Mintzberg, Simply Managing
  12. 12. The Anarchists “Workers are already empowered by default. Nobody is needed to grant them powers. There are no managers, only leaders. And they inspire workers to exercise the powers they already have.”
  13. 13. Empowerment defined empower /əmˈpou(ə)r/ 1. (authority) to give official authority or legal power to (by legal or official means) / to invest with power 2. (ability) to promote the self-actualization or influence of / to supply with an ability
  14. 14. “I authorized (empowered) a team member to take control of our company’s bank account.”
  15. 15. “I help my team members with their ability (empowerment) to manage our social media marketing.”
  16. 16. Dictators know and understand only the first meaning of the word empowerment (authority), while anarchists favor only the second meaning (ability). In most organizations, we need both.
  17. 17. Empowerment == Distributed Control Empowered people improve system effectiveness and survival. Empowered organizations are more resilient and agile.
  18. 18. We aim for a more powerful system, not better-controlled people.
  19. 19. We aim for a more powerful system, not better-controlled people. (And besides, creative workers cannot be controlled anyway.)
  20. 20. The more educated people are, the less effective authoritarian power is.