After 4 years of working by myself, I am now the proud manager of a team of seven great people. Two months ago, I had already extended my one-person company Happy Melly One by adding Lisette Sutherland (general management) and Sergey Kotlov (software development). In the last couple of weeks, I asked Lisette and Sergey to conduct job interviews with people around the world for the roles of Internet marketing, content writing, web development, and video editing.
At first, it was unclear to Lisette and Sergey how much autonomy they had in the decision process. They assumed that they would simply tell me which ones were their favorite candidates and then leave the final decision to me (delegation level 3: Consult). But I told them I wanted them to make the decision as a team, and I would just be offering my opinion on the last few candidates (delegation level 5: Advise). My reasoning was that this would make them feel more responsible for picking the right people. After all, at delegation level 5, if they make a bad decision, it is their problem to solve, not mine.
In my experience, the 7 levels of delegation are a great model for communicating the extent of empowerment, depending on the context. By simply referring to a certain delegation level for a key decision area (in this case: hiring new team members), as a manager you make it perfectly clear what you expect from a team’s competence and maturity in terms of self-organization. As I wrote in the Delegation Boards chapter of #Workout, you show the horse where the fence is and you allow it to roam freely within those boundaries. That’s how you manage constraints of the system, instead of decisions by the people.
To be honest, in practice I believe we applied delegation level 4: Agree. After the final interviews, where I asked the last candidates some silly and surprising questions, Lisette, Sergey and I had a good conversation about our findings and we easily agreed on the final selection. This shows that the Delegation Board indicates intent, not necessarily execution. I suppose it depends on the mood of the horse, and the enthusiasm of the rider. 🙂
That’s my latest Management 3.0 story. What’s yours?
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