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Aug 13

Delegation and Accountability

Posted by: Steve Marr

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Delegation and accountability is important for any business. We see a clear example of delegation in scripture. “When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: ‘Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt.’” (Luke 9:1-3, NIV)  The scriptures are clear that Jesus gave the disciples power and authority to drive out demons and cure disease.  He also told them what to take and what not to take.


When we delegate authority to staff, we need to be clear what is included in that authority. We need to be very specific concerning the decisions you want them to make and not make. 

An example is a clothing store that had a no refund policy. One of their best customers wanted to return one item, and the store clerk said, “No.” The customer left in a huff and never returned. The owner was upset with the clerk.  However, the owner had not delegated authority to the clerk to make exceptions when it would protect a customer relationship.  The clerk had been instructed to tell customers that there were no returns, and the clerk followed instructions.

When we delegate responsibility, we need to be very clear about what authority and how much to give.  The Lord was very clear about the authority he gave to the disciples. They were instructed to use the power for God's glory. Likewise, we need to delegate appropriate authority to make decisions that empower the business and protect customer relationships.

Delegation without accountability is ineffective.  Thus, as we delegate responsibility; we need to hold individuals accountable for their delegated authority. We read later in the chapter that “When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done.” (Luke 9:10, NIV)  The passage confirms that the twelve were not just doing whatever they liked.  They brought back reports that they accomplished delegated work.

When I delegate work, I expect feedback as soon as the work is completed.  I want to know how the job went, what was accomplished, and what issues may have surfaced that caused difficulties. My intention is not to give someone the fifth degree; my goal is to ensure I know what was accomplished. Some employees want more responsibility, but chaff with accountability. As the biblical example clarifies, delegated authority and accountability come as a package.  Make sure the same is true in your business.

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