Delegation of Authority and Empowerment

Delegation of Authority and Empowerment

In order to ensure proficient implementation of strategy in an organization it is true that top-level executives can best achieve this by delegating authority to middle and lower-level managers, and by creating a sense of empowerment among employees. Delegation of authority has many connotations and definitions. For the sake of this context, delegation shall denote the process or act of giving a subordinate party a certain degree of discretionary will, which is not inherent to their role as subordinates (Sinha, 2012). It is thus more than just giving assignments to subordinates, and entails giving subordinates assignments as well as the mandate to make decisions that relate to the assignment in an independent and responsible manner (McPhail-Wilcox &Michael, 1999). This implies that the subordinate gets authority to make decisions on issues that are officially tied to the role of the delegating authority, and for which the delegating authority is ultimately responsible. Delegation is often carried out as part of the employee empowerment program, where employees get assigned duties that promote their spontaneity, which is essential in developing effectiveness, quality and innovation in customer service.

Implementation of company strategy can benefit from delegation of authority because of the various inherent positive attributes of delegation of authority. The first and important element in strategy implementation entails obtaining buy-in from subordinates. Employees in lower tiers of the organization need to buy in to strategies designed by the top echelon of top-executives (McPhail-Wilcox &Michael, 1999). This is important because these employees in the lower tiers of the organization are the ones directly tasked with implementing the finer details of strategy or policy. It often happens that when employees do not accept a policy or strategy they will show laxity in implementing it at their level, and thus causing strategy failure. This may occur if they do not agree with parts of the formulated strategy or do not feel part of it. As such, it is prudent to engage subordinates in the strategy formulation and implementation process so that they feel part of the process. Delegating duties enables subordinates to feel part of the strategy implementation process (Wright State University, n.d). As such, they are less likely to accept the implementation to fail when they know it lies within their mandate and discretionary capacity to achieve success. They are likely to try their best in ensuring that the implementation succeeds because that way they will be credited with the success. Delegation helps employees to feel more responsible and part of the company processes, and this improves their performance (Powers, Karla & Gary, 2008).

Another obvious benefit of delegating authority in strategy implementation is the lightening of the workload that top executives have to carry (Speculand, 2009).  If top executives were to conduct every step of strategy implementation, it would take a long time for the whole strategy implementation process to be accomplished. However, with delegation of authority to subordinates, tasks are divided among more subordinates and carried out simultaneously. As such, tasks on strategy implementation take a shorter time to accomplish than would be the case if a few top executives were to carry the whole implementation mandate (Wright State University, n.d).

Delegation of authority on strategy implementation also offers a challenge to subordinates, and this helps them in developing their skills and capabilities. Delegation of new duties in strategy implementation always comes with something new to learn for subordinates (McPhail-Wilcox &Michael, 1999). This happens because much of the delegated duties and tasks are often beyond their basic job description. As such, they will naturally develop new knowledge and skills to cope with the newly assigned tasks. Such advancement in skills and knowledge makes employees more efficient, and increases their worth (Emerson, 2012; Sinha, 2012). Additionally, this prepares them for future promotions and assignments, which they could not have undertaken without the newly acquired skills and knowledge. In essence, delegation of duties develops employee capacities and grows their career beyond their job description, and thus empowering their strategy implementation capability (Speculand, 2009).

Delegation of duties in strategy implementation sends a message of respect and trust. It is true that delegating tasks that are beyond one’s job description requires trust in the person to whom the tasks are delegated (Powers et al. 2008). Employees are likely to feel trusted, and they will know that you trust their discretionary capacity. When employees perceive a sense of trust they are likely to feel respected and they will develop a sense of commitment to their job, the delegating authority as well as the organization (McPhail-Wilcox &Michael, 1999). The resultant commitment will definitely work well for strategy implementation because the employees will be committed to seeing success within the strategy implementation process.

Delegation of duties in strategy implementation also increases employee satisfaction and confidence in their work. Delegating duties beyond one’s scope gives them more power, and this empowerment leads to encouragement of entrepreneurial traits and skills, through prompting employees to take action, make decisions and foster belief that they can have control of their job (Wright State University, n.d). Strategy implementation also benefits from the development of such an attitude because employees develop their confidence in carrying out implementation strategies.

In addition, the act of delegating duties in strategy implementation calls for subordinate’s input during the strategy implementation process. When the employees take part in reaching decisions that affect their work, they will tend to develop a sense of ownership and belonging in relation to the generated decisions that relate to strategy implementation (Powers et al. 2008; Speculand, 2009).  As such, they are likely to be more committed to towards seeing the successful completion of the strategy because they feel part of it. Laxity or sabotage of strategy is therefore, less likely to occur within an organization that implements delegation of duties (Emerson, 2012).

Most importantly, the delegation of duties in strategic implementations that directly relate to customers helps in improving responsiveness to consumers. The employees in lower tiers of the organizational structure have the most contacts with consumers of any business, and they are the ones that know how to best serve customers. Therefore, delegation helps them in implementing actions that they deem fit towards improving consumer satisfaction. In the end, such delegation improves consumer satisfaction (McPhail-Wilcox &Michael, 1999).

Delegation of duties in strategy implementation also quickens decision-making. If the top executives were to carry out all tasks relating to the implementation of strategies, they would have to work for longer and deliver decisions after a longer time than would be the case if the tasks were delegated to various subordinates (Powers et al. 2008). The quickening of decision-making also ensures that tasks are conducted in a speedy manner. As such, delegation of duties in strategy implementation can benefit from quick decision-making and conduction of business because tasks are performed simultaneously by different people (Wright State University, n.d; Sinha, 2012).

Lower tiers of organizational structures bear more responsibility because they are directly involved in the carrying out of day-to-day activities that concern the business. The delegation of tasks in strategy implementation to subordinates in such tiers increases their responsibility by bringing more tasks under their umbrella (Management Study Guide, 2013). This not only increases their responsibility, but it also makes them develop more accountability. By taking part in strategic implementations the employees also become aware of any new changes that may affect the company and its operations. As such, they do not become new to policy and strategy-based changes, thus facilitating smooth operations (Emerson, 2012).

In a nutshell, delegation of authority in strategy implementation serves to increase the speed of decision-making and lightens the workload of the top executives. Additionally, it increases subordinates’ empowerment, responsibility and accountability (Speculand, 2009).  The new challenges posed by duties beyond subordinates’ scope of job operation also helps in improving their operational skills and knowledge, and thus making subordinates more proficient in their duties (McPhail-Wilcox &Michael, 1999). At personal level, such delegation fosters satisfaction and a sense of trust and respect from the top echelons of the organization’s structure. Most importantly, the delegation of tasks related to strategy implementation fosters inclusiveness, which makes the subordinate employees feel that they are part of decisions that are shaping their organization, and thus feeling more committed to the organization and its operations.

References

Emerson, L. A. (2012). The Benefits of Employee Empowerment. Retrieved from http://www.cutimes.com/2012/02/15/the-benefits-of-employee-empowerment

Flood, C. P. (2000). Managing Strategy Implementation. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons

Management Study Guide (2013). Delegation of Authority – Meaning, Importance and its Principles. Retrieved from http://www.managementstudyguide.com/delegation_of_authority.htm

McPhail-Wilcox, B. &Michael, E. W. (1999).Delegation and Empowerment: Leading with and Through Others. Eye on Education

Powers, E. Karla, L. M. & Gary, L. G. (2008).The Secrets to Successful Strategy Execution. Retrieved from http://hbr.org/2008/06/the-secrets-to-successful-strategy-execution/ar/2

Sinha, A. (2012). What is the Importance of Delegation of works in an organization? Retrieved from http://www.preservearticles.com/2012022923984/what-is-the-importance-of-delegation-of-works-in-an-organization.html

Speculand, R. (2009). Beyond Strategy: The Leader’s Role in Successful Implementation. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons

Wright State University (n.d). Delegating Strategically. Retrieved from http://www.wright.edu/~scott.williams/LeaderLetter/delegating.htm#The%20Benefits%20of%20Delegation

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