Discretion is usually a strong requirement in staff recruitments or engagements especially when it has to do with middle or high level staff. It is all about the ability and right or freedom to perform, and to make wise choices and decisions in one’s work. But unfortunately, alot of leaders or employers never create the work and leadership atmosphere for that to thrive.
Now, delegation of duty has two core constituent factors which include, responsibility and authority. Thus, the delegation of task or duty which involves the sharing or passing on of responsibility and authority by one to another usually from a leader to a subordinate in a work or an organizational setting.
However, in a routine practice these two elements of delegation of duty though Integral are usually confered differently such that one can be given responsibility without the measure or the corresponding authority that empowers the responsibility. The implication of this is that the efficacy of responsibility is lowered without the required measure of authority that goes with it. Of course the latter is the most sensitive aspect of the two elements of delegation of duty.
Hence, the demand or desire for discretion by an employer from a given worker should imply the latter possessing the ability and freedom to perform and make choices or decisions with little or no supervision or surveillance on both aspects of the elements of delegation: responsibility and authority. In that the worker is given the freedom based on his her perceived ability to perform his or her responsibility and as well exercise the authority that goes with same.
Ironically, what is obtainable is a situation whereby a worker is given the freedom to perform the responsibility but restricted or restrained and confined when it comes to the exercise of authority for reasons that are based on undue control, fear and lack of trust on the side of the employer. And that will ultimately undermine a discretional initiative.
Truly, discretional tendency remains a wise approach in determining and achieving productive maturity and effectiveness. And to accomplish this leaders and employers must learn to manage the two elements of delegation without prejudice. Understand that withdrawal of authority from responsibility will not only make the discretional capacity of workers to be low and poor, and it will in the end undermine discretionary productive outcome. Again, it is needless to demand for discretion when in the first place the responsibility element will not be tied to the commensurate authority that goes with it. Imagine Christ giving us the responsibility of identifying demons without the authority to destroy or stop them, or the responsibility of preaching without the authority to heal the sick, of course your thought is as good as mine; that’s truly what it means for a leader or employer to commit responsibility to a subordinate without the authority.
It is well.
Prof. Stewart Mba, Pastor