I believe that a lot of decision making is negatively impacted by unclear delegation.
The result is that both the delegator and delegatee (if such words existed) want the right outcome and behave intelligently – but act on different information or assumptions.
So it should help when delegating decisions to a group, if you am really clear on what decision you want made :
- Not just the item that is up for discussion but also whether people are helping you decide what the solution should be or just how to implement the solution that has already be decided; and
- Not just whether you want to talk about a decision but what outcome you want to achieve in the meeting.
For example – pick one of the following for the decision in question:
- I have made a decision and I want to explain it to you, as well as get your feedback;
- I am going to ask for your ideas and then make a decision;
- We are going to decide this together, but I will decide if we cannot reach agreement;
- We will decide this together and we need to all agree before we move forward;
- Let me know what you want to do as a team and I will back you; or
- Everyone can decide their own course of action separately after we have discussed the decision.
Similarly – set one of the following as an expectation before you ask the group to make a decision – At the end of this discussion:
- I want everyone on board with the decision and acting on it;
- I want the decision made, but we can come back later and talk about how to implement it; or
- I want everyone to go away and think about it, so we can come back and make an informed decision later.
It often surprises me how a little clarification leads to a realisation that we were much less clear as a group than we thought we were … which means we were probably wasting our energy working in different directions.