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Tactic Number 13.1 Deviated Delegation 1

No-decision managers realise that deploying tactics to avoid decision-making, alone, is not enough. If no decisions are made at all, they will be discovered quickly and risk being fired. To overcome this, they have invented a process to find people in the organisation that are willing to step in and take decisions in their place. I call this ‘deviated delegation’.

Most dictionaries use words like ‘assign’, ‘transfer’ or ‘deliver’ to describe the act of delegation. No-decision managers never assign, transfer or deliver anything, because these are action words that require a decision. Instead they ‘imply’, ‘hint’ or ‘suggest’ without ever discussing it. They need to persuade other managers to make a decision in their place without a direct request to make the decision. As a result, deviated delegation requires great skill by no-decision managers.

They have identified four manager types that are able to make decisions in their place. These will be discussed in detail in the next four posts.

Normal managers

Managers generally see delegation as a motivational tool to help develop skills of subordinates. Most of the definitions of delegation in management explain it as a transfer of power from the boss to the subordinate, while keeping the accountability for the outcome, regardless of what the subordinate decides. No-decision managers, as we shall see, use delegation differently.

Effect on subordinates

Subordinates realise that some decisions are made some of the time, even though they now know that their no-decision boss never makes decisions. It is at this stage that they realise that others make decisions in place of their no-decision boss.

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