Delegation Done Wrong

The Hard Limit Is Exhaustion

For the first time in my professional life, this year I hit the limits of my capacity to solve problems through personal effort. I have always been able to simply spend more time, and lock myself away to deliver detailed designs on specific hot topics whenever I perceived the team was blocked… But as I work with larger and larger teams: I realize that my strategy of simply doing-more-work is not sustainable.

Get Your Team In The Fight

“Getting my teams more invested” in this case means that I need them to feel committed to deliver. It’s worth saying at this point that my team are a bunch of absolute badasses, and they have been delivering great work all year. The problem is me: I have been doing a poor job of delegation.

Celebrate Your Victories

Everybody knows this, which is why people forget: celebrate every single time your team delivers successfully. Applaud individual effort and reward people who represent the culture you want.

Don’t Mistake Missing Details For Problems

If you’re like me, it’s very easy to get excited by the details of design. Making games is enormously fun, and it’s hard to separate “this is a good design that meets our needs” from “this is exactly how I would do it myself”. Sometimes I can’t acknowledge the former because it is not the latter.

Rules of Situational Leadership Still Apply

Delegating ownership doesn’t mean never helping out, of course. Like all teams, devs will still need different levels of support on different tasks. So when I say that I’ve been delegating badly and I need to be less involved, I’m not saying “I’m going to give less support to junior designers”.



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Geoff Ellenor

Geoff Ellenor


Game Director, WB Games Montréal. Video game nerd. Designer. Tech head. Views expressed here are my own.