Delegation Decision Making


Delegation Decision Making

Delegation works well when time is critical, when a single member of the group has the best information (and it isn't you), and when the group is crystal-clear on what the execution would look like.


Slow Fast
Independent Collaborative
Hierarchical Egalitarian
Private Transparent

You decide, with limitations.

Delegation means giving someone in the group explicit authority over making a decision, often with some guardrails.

One of the greatest leadership traits you can develop is removing yourself from the decision making process. Giving members of the group the authority to make a call independently will help your group act faster and give you more time to focus on the high-priority decisions that do require your attention. 


  • Frees up your time and energy
  • Owning decisions motivates your team members


  • May require more hand-holding than anticipated
  • They definitely won’t do EXACTLY what you would do

The Process

  1. Develop a list of delegates: Who is likely to understand the situation and be motivated to help?
  2. Choose the delegate: Who has the best information and is best positioned to marshal others
  3. Delegate the task, clearly communicating the parameters: e.g. “Your choice needs to satisfy this customer and stay under this amount of time/money.”

Avoid These Common Traps

Your delegate shirks their responsibility
Decision making carries a heavy burden and not everyone relishes the responsibility. Be sure to tell your delegate what qualities of theirs made you choose them. Find out what’s really bothering them and do what you can to answer their concerns. 

Your delegate makes a decision you disagree with
Group members have diverse mental models, experiences, and approaches to decision making. If your delegate makes a decision that either surprises you or displeases you, determine how important the differences in their approach and yours really are. If those differences are substantial, help your delegate see your perspective and appreciate your concerns. If necessary, have the delegate make changes.

Alternative Models

If you can’t delegate the decision, you may have to make it yourself, autocratically.

If one person that isn't you still has the best information but the whole group feels like they need to give input, try consent.