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Tactic Number 13.4 Deviated Diagonal Delegation

‘Deviated diagonal delegation’ is next best for no-decision managers, if their boss does not make a decision for them. This involves persuading a colleague of their no-decision boss or someone in headquarters to take a decision in their place. This option is easiest to manoeuvre when working in an organisation where managers have multiple bosses, i.e. in a matrix organisation with ‘dotted line’ responsibilities or in an organisation with a prolific headquarter staff.

As usual the no-decision managers cannot, and do not approach a manager in headquarters with a request: ‘Hey, I can’t make this decision in my department, will you make it in my place?’ You will remember that no-decision managers never talk about their lack of decision-making so deviated delegation requires skill. They need to invent ways to persuade other managers to make a decision in their place without discussing it with them. They do this by developing close relationships with influential managers in their organisation over time.

Normal managers

Normal managers also develop close relationships with influential managers in their organisation, not to make their decisions for them, but for their own internal politics: influence, power or whatever they consider necessary.

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. At some stage while working with no-decision managers they will realise that others make decisions in place of their boss.

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