Thoughts on ways to improve the management of professional services firms

Monday, November 30, 2009

Problems with authority and responsibility - are you guilty?

I have written a fair bit on this blog over time about problems with delegation. A key problem lies in the the grant of responsibility without real authority. This often links to a related problem: constant changes and interventions that further undermine the authority of the person meant to be doing the job.

These problems are often linked to two of the management styles I have discussed: the micro-manager and the over-enthusiastic manager.

You can check whether or not you belong to either class. Simply take a small handful of delegated jobs and monitor your own involvement. Actually write down what you do.

The observer always affects the observed. The fact that you are monitoring your own behaviour will affect that behaviour and for the better. However, you can tell what type you are by your gut reactions.

Does the act of standing back make you uncomfortable? Do you find that you have to discipline yourself not to give staff new assignments before the previous ones are completed? Do you, in fact, have a tendency to delegate and then forget, fail to follow up? Do you give one set of instructions and then actually countermand them?

You cannot change your personality, but can change the way you manage your personality. All these things give you clues that you can use to improve your own perfomance.

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