Balance Authority and Responsibility

Friday, January 20 2023

A leader who balances authority and responsibility in all organizational interactions will experience tremendous satisfaction. Authority is the power to decide and act as well as to direct the decisions and actions of others. The scope and impact of a leader’s organizational decisions and actions profoundly impact every stakeholder.

Balance and Authority

There are four levels of authority in an organization, and ideally, individuals in every position are offered the opportunity to progress to the next level:

  1. Act from instruction, so the individual can implement decisions made by others.  There is no choice.
  2. Act after approval, allowing the person to weigh factors and acts only after their manager approves.
  3. Decide, inform and act which gives them the power to decide, but people remain accountable to someone else.
  4. Decide and act; provides complete authority.

Accept the Consequences

Responsibility means accepting the consequences for your own decisions and actions, as well as for those to whom you have delegated. Responsibility requires transparency about decisions, actions, execution and results and demands fair assessment of successes and shortfalls. Monthly reports to the leadership team represent a powerful tool for ensuring responsibility in an organization.

Keep authority and responsibility in B.A.L.A.N.C.E.

Balance the welfare of all stakeholders, treating employees, suppliers and society as you do customers.

Assure everyone acts with confidence in their work environment with the training they need to meet increasing responsibility. Recognize that everyone makes mistakes, and attribute shortfalls accurately to actions and to outside circumstances.

Let everyone know which decisions they can make, the level of authority they have, and to whom results are to be reported. Our leadership program delves more deeply into the topic of delegation.

Act quickly to correct situations where people either bear consequences without equivalent power or have power without being responsible to anyone. When individuals feel they bear consequence without power, they tend to hide negative results. Power without consequences can lead to unethical decisions for personal gain.

Never let anyone, especially yourself, hide behind lack of transparency or too much data.

Celebrate successes and come clean with your own mistakes.

Expect the best from everyone and give them the tools they need to deliver, so that they will expect the best from themselves. Humans tend to meet the expectations of those they respect.

Satisfaction Increases

When you balance authority and responsibility in your organization your job becomes easier, you spend less time looking over shoulders, results improve dramatically, and your satisfaction increases.