If delegation is challenging for you right now as a leader, this simple, proven exercise will help.
Today’s episode is a micro-session with host Jeff Mask, and it’s for any leader who has big goals for the year but way too much on their plate to get it all done. It’s okay to admit it: to accomplish what you need to accomplish going forward, you’re going to need help. You’re going to need to delegate.
Listen in as Jeff walks us through a simple delegation exercise that can make a huge difference for any leader.
The Decision Tree
Without meaning to, leaders tend to be bottlenecks. A lot of things have to run through you for approval. Or you have your team coming to you for questions that seem really elementary and self-explanatory. You know you don’t actually need to be part of every decision or meeting, but no one is clear on who has ownership of what. People feel disempowered and disenfranchised, because they’re constantly coming to you for permission.
Jeff came across a very helpful delegation framework while reading Susan Scott’s book, Fierce Conversations. One of her employees shared it with her. It’s called The Decision Tree. Think of your organization as a tree. Trees have trunks, branches, leaves, and roots.
Each decision fits into a category. It’s either a leaf decision, a branch decision, a trunk decision, or a root decision. To visualize this framework, imagine 3 columns going left to right and 4 rows going top to bottom.
- Column 1: Decision Type (leaf, branch, trunk, root)
- Column 2: Team Member’s Role
- Column 3: Leader’s Role
When you get clear on what type each decision is, and get clear on each person’s role, then it’s amazing how you can eliminate bottlenecks, confusion, and frustration.
Leaf, Branch, Trunk, or Root?
If you pluck a leaf off a tree, does it make much of an impact on the tree? No. A leaf decision is something that doesn’t require your approval. Something like setting up a team meeting. You don’t need to sign off on it.
A branch decision is something a little bigger, like handling a high profile client. The team member can decide it, do it, and just let you know.
A trunk decision is a little bigger. Maybe this is something like changing a strategy. The team member can decide what they think, connect with you, get approval from you, then go do it on their own.
A root decision is something major, something very impactful to the company. Maybe a core value needs to be changed. A team member can make a recommendation, but you make the ultimate decision as the leader.
Implementing this simple exercise is powerful, magical. There are no more bottlenecks. Everything works more quickly. People have autonomy. The leader is relieved. And it’s onward and upward to those big goals.
Google “decision tree template” to find the one that works for you.
Richard and Jeff want to hear from YOU. Did something in today’s episode resonate with you? What insights or actionable items are you going to run with today? They’d love to hear your feedback on this episode. Email them here with your thoughts/questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
LINKS AND RESOURCES
- Fierce Conversations (book by Susan Scott)
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