This post continues my common management problem series with a look at a very common problem, responsibility without authority.
This one can be simply stated. You ask someone to do something, make them responsible for delivery, but then do not give them the authority to carry out the task properly.
This all sounds so simple to fix, yet the reality appears to be that this is one of the most common of common management problems.
In many cases, it is simply a matter of personality or approach - we want to micro-manage. Equally often, organisational structures simply do not allow proper delegation.
If the problem is the first, then it's up to us. If the problem is the second and the structures cannot be changed, then the only solution is to reduce the scope of formal responsibility so that it fits with actual authority.
Those interested can find a full list of the posts in this series here.