Innovation Junkies Podcast

2.36 The Authority, Responsibility, & Accountability Triangle

Jeff Amerine discusses how to delegate well by using the Authority, Accountability, and Responsibility triangle.

Jeff Standridge (Intro):

Are you ready to change the trajectory of your business and see massive improvements? Each week we’ll share strategies and practices to generate sustained results and long lasting success in your organization. Welcome to the Innovation Junkies Podcast. 

Jeff Amerine:

Hey, it’s Jeff Amerine here for another solo version of the Innovation Junkies Podcast. This will be a quick hitting minute where we’ll talk a little bit about some leadership philosophy and hopefully things that are helpful to those of you that are trying to grow businesses or that are in enterprises.

The first one is this idea of as a leader, the only way we accomplish anything is through successful delegation. And if you want to delegate an important task to someone as type-A personality people, as people that have a lot of skill, sometimes that can be a difficult thing to do. This old saying of “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself” is something that tends to limit our ability to grow as leaders and to grow organizations accordingly.

We’ve talked a lot over the course of many episodes about the importance of organizational efficiency and leadership. But one key philosophy there is, when you’re 60% sure or 70% sure that someone has the adequate skills for you to delegate an important task, even though they’re not going to be as good as you may think you are in your own mind, go ahead and delegate that task.

Now, here’s the key thing about that. There’s a concept that’s called the authority, responsibility and accountability triangle. Think about it, authority. You have the authority to take on a particular task. You’re accountable for sure, for getting it done. And you have a responsibility that’s commensurate with that. Sometimes what happens and what limits our ability to delegate well is we’ll give all the accountability in the world to a subordinate or someone on our team, and they’ll have the responsibility to get something done. But we won’t give them the authority to make any real decisions or to commit budget or to actually execute against these shared objectives or this project that we’ve agreed upon that leads to something that in many large enterprises will cause a malaise or a real feeling that there’s not empowerment. They don’t have the capability to actually act on anything without asking permission.

So a key concept there is if you’re going to assign someone, you have to make sure that their authority, their ability to commit resources, whether it’s budget or people and to make decisions, is in equal measure and in harmony with the level of accountability and responsibility they have. So it’s a triangle, accountability, authority, responsibility. Equilateral triangle, where all those things are balanced and in equal measure.

If you do that, you’ll empower the people that work for you, the people on your team to learn and grow and execute effectively. This is just a quick leadership minute from the Innovation Junkies Podcast. I’m Jeff Amerine and I’ll see you next time.

Jeff Amerine (Outro):

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