Delegate Authority NOT Responsibility


Leaders Need Followers

Leaders cannot do everything.  If they could, there would be no need for followers.  Leaders MUST rely on others for success of the common goal.  Therefore, it is necessary for the leader to relinquish control to succeed. The operative maxim is, “You can delegate authority, but you cannot delegate responsibility.”

Power and Authority

People acquire power and authority as a function of their positions.  Those charged with the responsibility for tasks should have the authority and means to achieve them. However, it is unfortunate  that some leaders covet authority.  It is a badge of status that is held close.  It becomes easier to delegate responsibility to others while maintaining authority to oneself.  In the Lord of the Rings story, every being who held the Ring of Power became corrupted by it.  One holder of the ring of power called it, “My precious.”  That cannot be your view of authority if you wish to be a leader.

Give it Away

Authority is similar to Love. You get the most from it when you give it away.  The followers who perform the tasks the leader cannot do, need authority to make decisions regarding the tasks.  It gives them a sense of empowerment and ownership.  And, it contributes to making better decisions promptly.

The Double Edged Sword

One can take all the correct actions and still have an undesired outcome. Also, one can take few correct actions and achieve a desired outcome. For the leader, the HONEST understanding is that the leader is responsible in either case. You get credit when things go well.  You get blame if they do not.  And, it doesn’t matter whether the result was due to your personal actions.  You must accept that responsibility for undesired outcomes accrue to you.  This is true even when that outcome is due to no error or neglect on your part.  If you cannot accept both the acclaim and the blame,  then you are not ready to be a leader.

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