Monday, February 8, 2010

Responsibility & Authority

Want to set someone up to fail? Give them responsibility without authority.



Recently I was speaking with a dear friend who was angling for a big promotion at work. She explained that her boss was concerned that she wasn't "tough enough" to be Sales Manager.


I clearly told her it was complete B.S. 


Tough has nothing to do with it.  Effective management comes down to giving someone a responsibility and the commensurate authority to make it happen. It means you don't second guess them or countermand them. A good manager is responsible for results and has the power to achieve them.


Too often, small business owners give responsibility without authority. Suddenly this poor soul is cast adrift to sink or swim on their own. They are responsible for results but don't have the one tool that will genuinely help them succeed. 


Without authority, don't bother giving out titles like Sales Manager. It's a farce. 


I remember a former customer where the Customer Service Manager couldn't hire or fire anyone. She couldn't even threaten them because they knew it was toothless. So what exactly was she managing? 


Mind you, if customer service was ever a problem she was called to task for it. If somehow a customer complaint filtered up to the owner, she would get chastised. So what happened? How did she avoid getting in trouble?


She ended up doing the job of the entire department. While her supposed subordinates were doing whatever they wanted, she had to pick up the slack. That's not management, that's punishment. It's taking your best employee and rewarding them with tons more work.


If you want real managers that get real results then you must give them the authority to fulfill their duties. Anything else is a waste of talent.




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