Delegate or be delegated!

Delegation is one of the most challenging points in leadership work with their teams. The quality of our professional lives and the quality of our team members can depend on delegation. Delegation is a huge topic that I often train people on for a day or two. But before we learn delegation skills, we need to understand the core of delegation and the WHY.

As in everything we do, some polarity always exists. The polarity, I would say anomaly, is the dilemma of team members and team leaders.

Team leaders might ask themselves:

1) Can delegating people take some of my power?

Or polarity:

2) Am I delegating too much?

From a team member’s side, we can assume two questions:

1) Does the delegated task require additional work for me?

Or polarity:

2) I am so isolated that no task for my development is delegated.

When I first played the delegation poker game a long time ago, I never guessed that this simple exercise could change the way I see delegation.

I scheduled a two-hour workshop with my team. I asked to bring up some situations from leaders’ daily tasks for which leaders were confused; at which level should my responsibility for this task be?

I shortly explained the meaning of every different card, then split the group into two groups of four.

The set has seven different cards representing seven different levels of delegation.

1. Tell: I will tell them

2. Sell: I will try and sell it to them

3. Consult: I will consult and then decide

4. Agree: We will agree together

5. Advise: I will advise, but they decide

6. Inquire: I will inquire after they decide

7. Delegate: I will fully delegate

I presented the first case and asked people to think and discuss with each other at which level they think they should be.

After five minutes of discussion, I asked both groups to give me the card, and I also prepared my card.

Wow, such different views from my side and their side.

Case by case, the situation was the same. Somehow, I expected more responsibility from their side; they were afraid to ask for it.

In the end, we agreed that our expectations were not aligned, so we created a few action steps to improve alignment.

What did I learn? The only problem that can’t be solved is an unspoken one. By discussing our expectations using Delegation Poker from Mng 3.0, we saved many hours explaining who should do what.

I dare you to try!

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