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Tannenbaum & Schmidt

Team development model



The Tannenbaum and Schmidt Continuum shows the relationship between the level of authority exercised by a manager and the level of freedom that the manager delegates to their team.


The manager should aim to develop the team so that they move up the scale to the point where they become “self-managing”.  At this point, one or more new leaders should have emerged – ready to undertake managerial responsibility and to begin developing their own teams.


It should be remembered that the manager is ultimately accountable for the performance of the team – so such freedom needs to be conferred wisely, in accord with the level of responsibility demonstrated by the team.


Delegating decision-making responsibility to a team does not absolve the manager of accountability.  If things go wrong, it is the manager that must accept the blame: the manager is responsible for assessing how much can be safely delegated.





The 7 levels of delegated freedom are:


1. The Manager decides and announces the decision.


2. The manager decides and then 'sells' the decision to the group.


3. The manager presents the decision with background ideas and invites questions.


4. The manager suggests a provisional decision and invites discussion about it.


5. The manager presents the situation or problem, gets suggestions, then decides.


6. The manager explains the situation, defines the parameters and asks the team to decide.


7. The manager allows the team to identify the problem, develop the options, and decide on the action, within the manager's received limits.