The Decision Tree

decision-treeI think delegation can be a big mistake. There’s a mouthful. Did I just say that? This from the guy who just wrote, “9 Reasons Why People Don’t Delegate“? Something’s wrong.

Here’s the deal. I believe in delegation. Wholeheartedly. But I also believe that IF you’re going to delegate, you better make sure you’re delegating the right tasks to the right people. You need to ensure that you’ve identified just HOW MUCH authority you plan to give to your leaders. Make it obvious and clear to both them and you.

Give them time to prove themselves. This will honor & serve both them and you. Trust me, they may not know this, but they don’t want more authority than they’re equipped to handle.

Here’s the key, make sure both you and they know which decisions they can make and how involved you should be in them.

fierce-conversationsLast year I read a great book called ‘Fierce Conversations‘. It is full of great advice on how to be more self-aware as a leader, how to confront others with care, how to ask the right questions, how to hold performance reviews with staff and a lot more. It’s definitely on my ‘recommended reading‘ list!

That said, I’d like to highlight one of the most valuable pages in the book. The author calls it . . .

The Decision Tree
The decision tree is a tool for delegation and professional development. You know employees {or volunteers} are growing and developing when more and more of their decisions are moved to the leaf level.

  • Leaf Decisions: Make the decision. Act on it. Do not report the action you took.
  • Branch Decisions: Make the decision. Act on it. Report the action you took daily, weekly, or monthly.
  • Trunk Decisions: Make the decision. Report your decision before you act take action.
  • Root Decisions: Make the decision jointly, with input from many people.

Let’s create an example, to help illustrate how this might work. I’ll pick on the Children’s Ministry Director in a local church. Following might be what you’ve decided about that individual. Note: it could be different for each person you recruit into the role. For instance, maybe a longstanding elder or the pastor’s wife is the director, many of the decisions in Trunk or Branch might move up into Branch & Leaf.

Children’s Ministry Director:

  • Leaf: Curriculum. Classroom Decor. Check-in Procedures. Parent Communications.
  • Branch: Volunteer Recruitment. Volunteer Scheduling. Volunteer Training. Minor Discipline Issues with Children. Child Injury.
  • Trunk: Special Events. Scope & Sequence for the year. Major Discipline Issues with Children (requiring parent interaction). 
  • Root: Children’s Ministry Policies. Community Focused Large Events. Abuse/Allegations of abuse. 

How can the Decision Tree help you delegate and communicate with your team better this week?

photo credit: Steve Webel via photopin cc

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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