48 Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men. 49 Moreover, at Daniel’s request, the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego administrators over the province of Babylon, while Daniel himself remained at the royal court. – Daniel 2
When you employ someone in your company, one of the first things that you do is to give them their job description. This is useful because it gives them an understanding of their scope of work, what is expected of them and the key performance indicators in which they will be measured on.
But how many managers really allow their subordinates to exercise the authority placed upon them through their job responsibilities?
I have worked for several companies now where I have experienced what it feels like to be given your scope of work and allowed to exercise authority assigned to it, and what if feels like to be given a title with authority but absolutely no room to exercise authority.
What we don’t understand as leaders is the fact that when you give one a title, the expectations and the confidence rise according to the title. Every title has a scope of work assigned to it, which then becomes an indicator of how far one can go. Of course, the scope of work is never a limitation for one to perform above 100%, but it is an indicator of the level of authority one has.
Example: Lucy is employed as an office manager of a small company. Her responsibilities include overseeing the office administration as well as the office in general in the absence of the Executive. However, when the Executive is not around Lucy fails to apply her authority on matters requiring urgent attention. She must locate the Executive and get a decision from them, failing which the urgent matter becomes not so urgent because there is no solution for it.
Looking at this scenario, how does this affect the operations and growth of your business as the owner?
“Delegation is the assignment of any responsibility or authority to another person (normally from a manager to a subordinate) to carry out specific activities. It is one of the core concepts of management leadership. However, the person who delegated the work remains accountable for the outcome of the delegated work. Delegation empowers a subordinate to make decisions, i.e. it is a shifting of decision-making authority from one organizational level to a lower one. Delegation, if properly done, is not fabrication. The opposite of effective delegation is micromanagement, where a manager provides too much input, direction, and review of delegated work. In general, delegation is good and can save money and time, help in building skills, and motivate people. On the other hand, poor delegation might cause frustration and confusion to all the involved parties.” – Wikipedia
As a leader, your primary function is to empower others. It is to set an example for those that follow you and to give them guidance on how to apply effective leadership. When you fail as a leader to set an example of effective leadership, you fail your subordinates. When you refuse to allow them to do their work as according to the level of authority assigned to their positions, you are literally killing their morale and growth potential. If you are someone that worries about the risk attached to the level of authority assigned to a position, rather put in place accountability structures to ensure that the subordinates understand the risk attached to their authority. That way they also learn to be accountable for their actions.
No one can do everything on their own. If that was the case no one would need others and companies would not need employees. However, as a visionary, it is not your responsibility to bring the vision to manifestation but a responsibility of others. Your responsibility is to
- have the vision
- set strategies on how to achieve it
- engage resources to help you achieve it, and
- set goals to achieve it.
If you focus on the nitty-gritties of achieving the vision you will never achieve it, and even if you manage to achieve it somehow, it would be a mission to sustain it. That is why you need others.
God created humanity as a body structure, that we may help each other. We need to learn to trust God’s structure and utilize it to our advantage. As a leader, do everything you can to grow the potential of your employees or subordinates. Afterall they are not meant to work for you forever. Limiting their potential can only chase them away.
This is the one thing that the Kings mastered, delegation. They had bigger things to concern themselves with, like expanding their kingdoms. For them finding a wise man to handle the affairs of the kingdom was an important deal. Managing affairs whether daily or monthly can occupy a rather big chunk of your time, moving you away from focusing on what you should be focusing on, which is
- bringing your vision to life;
- sustaining it and
- expanding it.
As a leader, you need to trust others, if not find someone you can trust and give them the responsibility of trusting others.