Last year I heard a speaker at a conference talk about delegating tasks to team members. If you are a leader, it is critical that you learn how to delegate! Whether you are on the giving or the receiving end of delegation, here is an important question:
Am I delegating (or receiving) responsibility, or authority? There’s a difference.
Responsibility – this means you need to give clear directions. There is a certain way you want it to be done and a certain way it should look when it’s finished. You have given away the responsibility of completing a task in the described manner.
Authority – this means you are giving away the authority to choose how something gets done, choose who participates, make decisions, etc. As long as the goal is achieved, this person has the authority to get it done.
See the difference? Many times I thought I delegated a responsibility but communicated in such a way that sounded like I delegated authority to go along with it! Then I wasn’t happy with the process or the end result.
So when you delegate, be crystal clear in your communication and expectation. And if you have been delegated an assignment, don’t take authority you have not been given.