How To Empower My Team?

In our work as consultants we work with individuals, teams and organizations to become more Agile, more collaborative, more innovative and more self-organizing.

In this work, we experience many typical work environments: Managers saying how they need to drive and push their employees to get things done. Employees saying how they cannot show any initiative because it gets squashed by their managers, so they stopped even trying. The power of these environments is so strong that employees are conditioned to do exactly what they are told and the managers do not even realize the impact of their behaviour.

The self-organization and empowerment challenge

In our work we often hear about empowering teams, moving decisions down to the people who need to take necessary actions, and having a more collaborative and servant leadership model.

We often see managers on the front line of making all of this work experiencing confusion and frustration because they know that teams cannot just make any decision they please, because they (i.e., the managers) are the ones accountable for certain things in the organization, even in areas where teams could be making decisions.

And from the team’s perspective, they need to grapple with the polarity of becoming more self-organized while having a manager at the same time. So, what does this all mean for them?

Empowerment through delegation

In the course Management 3.0, we introduce a tool called Delegation Poker. This tool helps teams and their managers generate conversations around appropriate levels of delegation in areas important to them. With its game like structure, this tool is a fun a safe way to explore different perspectives and come to agreement on who’s responsible for what and how. Delegation Poker defines seven levels of delegation:

  1. TELL: The manager imposes a decision to the team.
  2. SELL: The manager makes a decision and sells it to the team.
  3. CONSULT: The manager makes the decision, but get team’s input.
  4. AGREE: The manager and the team make the decision together.
  5. ADVISE: The team makes the decision, but the manager provides input.
  6. INQUIRE: The manager inquires the team after they make the decision.
  7. DELEGATE: The team makes the decision and life goes on.

Using the seven levels of delegation allows managers to delegate some of their authority to the team. There are some decisions in organizations that only managers are authorized to make, but they can decide how much (or how little) they want to involve their teams. Using this tool makes the boundaries clearer for both the manager and the team members.



Steffan Surdek and Louise Kold-Taylor are Agile Coaches at Pyxis Technologies. They  help teams build and align their individual and collective capacity in order to cultivate collaborative purposeful organizations where people are inspired and engaged.

To learn about Delegation Poker and much more, come join us in one of our upcoming Management 3.0 courses in Ottawa in English or French as well as our free introductory workshop for Chamber members February 3rd, 2017.



Categories: Business, Human Resources

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: