Empowered teams that make good decisions

Many organizations want to have self-organizing teams that make decisions to achieve defined objectives. However, how can we make teams self-organize? The answer focuses on decentralizing decision-making so that team control is better distributed. This control must be based on the authority we give to people and the ability of people to make decisions. Some call this Empowerment.

For empowerment to work, leaders must define clear limits on the control that people exercise. To promote delegation, empowerment and resolve the decentralization of decision-making, Management 3.0 defined seven levels of delegation that allow clarifying the elements of delegation, and promote empowerment in teams. These levels of delegation are:

1. Tell: the leader makes a decision and then shares with others his motivation for the decision made.

2. Sell: the leader makes a decision and tries to convince others that the decision made is the right one, involving them so that they feel that they are part of the decision made.

3. Consult: Initially, the leader asks his team for an opinion, and then makes a decision, respecting the opinions of the people.

4. Agree: you have a conversation with everyone involved and, as a group, you reach a consensus on the decision.

5. Advise: the leader shares his opinion with others, but it is the team that will make the decision.

6. Inquire: the leader allows the team to make the decision, and then you ask them to share the criteria for the decision.

7. Delegate: the leader lets the team make the decision, without having to know the details of it.

These seven levels of delegation are supported on Delegation Poker cards and Delegation Board. This tool allows us to clarify who is responsible for doing what and to what level. This tool also helps us to foster people’s commitment through controlled self-organization.


In April this year, the commercial team underwent a series of changes due to COVID-19. These changes generated the following scenarios:

  • Some people on the team decided to leave the company for personal reasons.
  • Some clients put some important projects on stand-by.
  • Some commercial agreements in the contracting process were canceled.
  • The sales team grew as the company decided to increase its portfolio of services with its professional training business unit in Latam.
  • The commercial director had to assume greater responsibility in the organization.
  • The implementation of OKRs in the commercial area was started as part of an experiment (you can learn more in this article).

With these changes in the commercial team, they need to decentralize decision-making in the commercial area was identified and empower some people who joined the leadership team of the area. At the quarterly committee meeting of the business team held in May this year, participate as a facilitator to present the Delegation Poker tool and analyze the results of its use. In this meeting we carry out the following activities:

  1. Fundamentals: We had a space to share the importance of delegation and empowerment and the benefits that are obtained. I shared the details of the seven levels of delegation with some examples to understand how to apply it in each type of decision.
  2. Definition of key decision areas: We divided into two groups to draw up a list of key decision areas focused on the current situation of the company.
  3. Definition of roles for decision making: Additionally, we list the roles that could be assigned a level of delegation for each decision area. Then we return to the main room to decide the key decision areas to add to the board.
  4. The decision: For each key decision area, each person selected a delegation-level that reflects the extent to which they would delegate decision-making if we were the team leader. The key feature is that the decision should not be shared with others. When the entire team has already selected their delegation level, each person moves the role they consider in the column of the selected delegation level. If there are differences in the decisions, the extreme levels will share their explanation of the reason for that decision. We vote again until we reach a consensus at the delegation-level of the key decision area. Finally, we repeated all these steps until we completed the delegation-level of the 7 key decision areas of the commercial area (they could be more or fewer decisions. By coincidence, there were 7 decision areas).


My biggest learnings in the use of this practice are:

  • This tool allows us to identify the level of preparation of a team to be self-organized. Consider that many self-organized teams do not make correct decisions because they are not trained to do so.
  • Leaders need to deliver clear goals, inspiring purpose, and real values ​​to teams for effective decision-making and self-organization to deliver results to the organization.
  • Leaders must help their teams to train in decision-making, allowing them to make decisions on not-so-critical issues, as they develop as professionals.
  • Leaders must have the clarity to define control limits so that their teams know their level of decision making.
  • Leaders must know when to delegate and when to make decisions. Consider that the leader can be the obstacle or the catalyst for the growth of their teams.

Empower your team and you will see better results!

Thank you!

For more information: https://management30.com/practice/delegation-poker/

For remote teams, you can download the template at: https://management30.com/download/34518/




Estratega en agilidad empresarial, agile coach, gestor de cambios ágiles y especialista en escalabilidad ágil.

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Jose Brando Maco Victoria

Jose Brando Maco Victoria

Estratega en agilidad empresarial, agile coach, gestor de cambios ágiles y especialista en escalabilidad ágil.

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