Steward Leadership: Two ways to delegate

Posted by Matthew Thomas

matthew-thomas-2Stewarding an organization involves delegating to others. We see two primary ways steward leaders delegate: prescriptively and proscriptively.


Prescriptive delegation involves making a list of do's and don'ts and then making sure the person we delegated to gets them done.


Proscriptive delegation involves setting goals and the outside boundaries of what is permissible and allowing the other person to exercise judgment and discretion within the boundaries we set in order to meet the goals.


Like what you're reading? Subscribe Now! Each style has its risks and benefits. Nevertheless, we see that proscriptive delegation, when executed well, provides for increased organizational capacity, while prescriptive delegation tends to stifle innovation.


Agile enterprises tend to be proscriptive with their leaders, giving them boundaries to continue to push the enterprise forward. They gain agility as leaders make decisions to propel the enterprise toward its goals - something a prescriptive model cannot do, since the capacity to make decisions is out of their hands in that case. In general, steward leadership tends to push decisions as far down into the organization as possible. 


What is your delegation style? Which do you prefer?


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Topics: becoming a steward leader, steward leaders, steward leader, steward leadership, delegation