Authority or Responsibility..Way to Success?


The most complex yet undeniably important inter-relationship between authority and responsibility, paves the way to success if and only if the relationship can be understood and used to create a harmonious and rewarding environment.

Lets look at the definition first:-

au·thor·i·ty n

  1. the right or power to enforce rules or give orders
  2. somebody or something with official power
  3. power to act on behalf of somebody else or official permission to do something
  4. somebody who is accepted as a source of reliable information on a subject, or a book in which such information is given

re·spon·si·bil·i·ty n

  1. the state, fact, or position of being accountable to somebody or for something
  2. the blame for something that has happened
  3. somebody or something for which a person or organization is responsible>authority to make decisions independently

As seen in most of the cases any authoritative position comes with responsibility. Responsibility to authorize, delegate, monitor and be responsible for the end results. So the job does not end if you have passed on your responsibility to your team/team member, infact it becomes all the more critical and takes up your ownership towards the task a few notches up.

To understand this better I have categorized individuals with Authority:-

1) Individuals who pass on the authority and forget.

2) Individuals who pass on the authority and keep a hawk’s eye on the task delegated.

3) Individuals who do not pass on any authority but believe in working themselves to complete the task.

Who do you think will be most successful.There might be different opinions as in all the three categories the situation might differ and so would the leadership style.

Lets try and evaluate some situations which have led to the above categorization:

 In the first category the person in authority has delegated and forgotten because:

1) (S)He is basically forgetful.But will remember after a month that there was a task which was delegated and starts inquiring when at that point some other task might be more critical.

2) Has too many tasks on hand and less time to attend to all the open tasks thus these are delegated and forgotten. This usually happens when there is an overlap of responsibilities or less people compared to org. structure.

3) Has a very mature team and (S)he knows that the task wll be completed without any reminders.

In the second category:

1) Absolutely distrusts his team; does not value their involvemnt , knowledge or experience levels.

2) Has a team which requres constant follow up..Its either new or there are fitment issues.

3) Does not have the right knowledge for the job thus constant intervention not only allows him(her) to understand the task better but also present the completed task in front of the management.

In the third category:

1) Believes in his work more than his team’s.This could be because of inexperience, fitment issues or (S)he is a control freak.

2) Does not want to share information with the team fearing better accomplishment by the team/team member.

3) Knows that passing on the authority could add on to the workload so the shortcut is to finish the task on his/her own.

What is the best way to find the right balance between authority and responsibility:

It is important to pass on the authority but its also important to adequately empower the team to handle those tasks by way of:-

1) Training and bridging the gaps in the improvement areas so that the team is able to participate in your success to make way for themselves eventually.

2) Paving the path by the co-ordinating and collaborating with interdepartmental teams for seamless work co-ordination and closure by your team members

3) By creating an environment of mutual trust and respect within the team.

4) Building team passion and maturer outlook by inculcating team work so that if you succeed the team should know that they benefit from your success too.

Some words of caution do not expect the job to be completed without authority as this will not only hamper your performance evals but will also seep in layers of demotivation within your team/team members.

Rest as one says KEEP ROCKING!!


About shailychhabra

Shaily Chhabra has an extensive experience and exposure of 19 years into Customer Service and Quality having worked with prominent names in TELECOM and ITES.This blog is a platform for illustrating practical and easily implementable solutions for achieving Customer Satisfaction based on the experience of many years.The information or knowledge shared in the blogs is a selfless attempt of a passionate professional to help improve SERVICE QUALITY in any way the readers can benefit from.Please do share if you see some recognizable differences/improvement in your workplace post implementation of your interpretation/understanding of my blogs....The knowledge of knowing that it worked for you would be of utmost importance and fulfillment to me.

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