WATCH: The Paradox of Delegating Decisions

Today, I’d like to talk about the Paradox of Delegation. How you take self-responsibility and collaboration. How you approach these things. It’s one of the 12 Paradoxes developed by Dr. Dan Harrison.  And you can find out more about these paradoxes by getting in touch.

 Paradox of Delegating Decisions

The two traits in the Paradox of Delegation are actually what may seem like contradict. You sites there’s authoritative and collaborative. And yet these two opposing traits, when they come together, create something synergistic. Which I’m going to explain to you. 

So if we have very high authority of, we enjoy making decisions and we take responsibility for decision making but low collaborative. We can end up being authoritarianThere’s a real danger in that. That actually are our decisions may be poor decisions because we’re not getting input from others. With only what’s going on in our minds and our view of the world.

If we’re very collaborative and have a high enjoyment of collaboration, but a low enjoyment of actual decision-making and taking responsibility for decision-making. We can end up deferring decisions because we’re always going well. What does this person think and what is that person thing and then, no decision gets made. Where if you have both of them together, you actually get a thorough authoritative collaboration where you get the best of both worlds. Decisions are being made and we’re getting collaboration, we’re getting lots of ideas from other people and that’s also getting out to buy-in from other people.

Because one of the dangers with authoritarianism is that you can actually end up not getting buy-in from any other managers. And also if stress builds up and your strategy isn’t working and you’re finding that there isn’t any buy-in, sort of you find a sort of sometimes that people go a bit passive-aggressive. And go well you make the decision then, and I won’t have anything to do with it. See how that turns out for you.

Or else, if you find under a stressful situation people who are very collaborative and trying to look for a way to make the decision, no a decision is being made. Stress is building up, strategy isn’t working and then what will happen is they’ll burst into that. They’ll flip into being authoritarian, making a decision but it’s an emotionally charged decision. So it’s not necessarily a rational decision and therefore, that’s ineffective as well. So what you need to look at is higher. You can balance being both collaborative and getting the buy-in from the people you want to make decisions with.  And being authoritative which is making a decision and the enjoyment of making a good decision by being authoritative in your collaboration. Thank you!


With best regards,

David Klaasen 

Talent4Performance help business leaders clarify complexity. We inspire people and drive continuous performance improvement, so they can convert thinking into action and results. 

©David Klaasen – 2014