(Adapted from an article written by Luke Landes in Career and Work)
by Tracy W. Jaggers
One quality of great leadership is the ability of delegate. Visionary leaders know this, and delegate to move the organization forward productively. Delegation reveals trust. The leader who delegates declares, “You are here because you are a vital part of the process in accomplishing our shared vision, and I trust you to do the work God gifted you to do.” This leader has no problems getting or keeping workers!
Visionary leaders often stop there. As a result, a big piece of the puzzle is obscure. While the leader may say they trust the workers, if they fail to allow the worker to make decisions because they believe they must maintain control of the vision, they are actually saying, “I do not trust you.”
A lack of authority prevents the organization from moving forward. Processes come to a halt, waiting for the visionary to make the next decision. Therefore a trusted worker/volunteer may lose heart and choose to go to a setting where they can use their gifts and talents in a role in which they are trusted and valued.
Leaders must give both the responsibility for the task and the decision-making authority to do it within the worker’s gifts and talents!
What can I do if I find myself working a task where I have been given responsibility but no authority? This can be a frustrating and debilitating! You want to do a great job because you are sold on the organization’s vision, but your creativity and decisions are discounted, impeded and distrusted. You’ve been given the responsibility to accomplish a task, but you keep being blocked from doing your task by the very leader who gave you the task in the first place. Also, you may even be reprimanded and held accountable for a task’s failure because of the decisions you were prevented from making.
First, don’t be that type of leader. Second, be faithful to the task and the vision. Finally, pray for God’s wisdom and guidance as you serve faithfully.
Responsibility – involving personal ability to act without superior authority.
Authority – the right and power to command, enforce laws, exact obedience, determine, influence or judge.
Accountability – answerable to a superior authority.
Responsibility without Authority = Distrust/Impotence
Responsibility without Accountability = Anarchy/Chaos
Authority without Accountability = Tyranny/Dictatorship
Accountability without Authority or Responsibility = Oppression
Responsibility + Authority + Accountability = Freedom/Peace