Authority represents the legitimate exercise of power which in turn is the ability to exercise influence over objects, persons, and situations. It is important to note that authority is vested in a position, not people. It is accepted by subordinates and flows down the vertical hierarchy. If authority means the right to make a decision, responsibility is the duty to perform the task or activity that has been assigned. The subordinates are accountable or answerable for carrying out the task. Delegation is an extension of authority. It is a very important principle having far-reaching effects on the organization.
Delegation involves passing down of authority to perform tasks and take decisions from higher to lower levels in the organization. It should be remembered it is only the task that is assigned to the subordinates but the final responsibility still rests in the hands of the manager. Delegation occurs in a decentralized organizational structure. It requires passing down the decision making authority to managers in other areas or departments in the business allowing decisions to be taken away from the head office. There are many benefits of delegation. Delegation releases managers to undertake a strategic role. It shows trust in the subordinates and motivates the staff too as well. Many social scientists pointed out, this process can be a very effective way of enhancing worker performance. The workers feel they are trusted and are capable of performing the task.
There is a sense of belonging that leads to higher levels of self-actualization. The delegation also develops and trains staff for more senior positions and is one way of assisting people to achieve their potential. The delegation also helps the managers to motivate employees. Businesses that have a wide span of control have better delegation authority. The managers can delegate more as there are more people to manage. There will be uniformity and less discrimination as more people are at the same seniority level. It also improves communication between the managers and subordinates as there is direct interaction between them.
Every business needs delegation. Every manager has to learn the art of giving authority and delegation. They have to use delegation to get the best results from the employees.