For successful delegation …

The authority, responsibility and accountability for the task changes hands when a manager, or superior employee, delegates a task down the hierarchy …

Authority, responsibility and accountability are 3 key terms in the process of delegation!

copyright: 4p business development

Prior to delegating any task, it is essential to understand how delegation is affected by your ability to manage your employees. You must have the ability to delegate the authority, responsibility and accountability.


“Always choose the most suitable employee with the skills and competencies to fulfil the requirements!”


There is often some confusion over the difference between these three terms that are essential for successful delegation. Here’s a brief explanation of each:

  • Authority always flow downwards. It is the power given to a manager or leader to act and make decisions within designated boundaries and achieve organisational objectives.

    Ordinarily, the authority is shared between the manager and the person receiving the delegation. An organisation cannot exist successfully without authority.

    It is expected that this individual will exercise the full scope of his authority to properly, profitably, and professionally manage the task. Without authority, a manager ceases to be a manager, it indicates the right and power of making decisions, giving orders and instructions to subordinates.

    Stress comes from doing it all on your own so delegate … and give the authority to a trusted employee.

  • Responsibility refers to the act of carrying out the specific task, an obligation upon people deemed as responsible. When delegating a task, the manager and person receiving the delegation share the responsibility of completing the work.

    The term ‘responsibility’ is often referred to as “an obligation to perform a particular task assigned to a subordinate. In an organisation, responsibility is the duty as per the guidelines issued”.

    When delegating a task, both the manager and the person receiving the delegation share the responsibility of completing the work. The manager has the responsibility of providing instructions on what work needs to be done, while the person receiving the delegation is responsible for figuring out how the task should be completed.

    Therefore, a leader is responsible and has responsibility for the operation for which they have been given authority. The essence of responsibility is the obligation of a subordinate to perform the duty assigned.

    • It always originates from the superior-subordinate relationship

    • Responsibility is in the form of a continuing obligation

    • The person accepting responsibility is accountable for the performance of assigned duties

    Usually, authority flows downwards whereas accountability flow upwards.

  • Accountability always flows upwards; it is the act of being liable for actions and decisions. Accountability is the obligation of an individual to report formally to his superior about the work he has done to discharge the responsibility, and every employee should be held accountable for jobs assigned to them and be able to complete that job as per the standards set by the superior.

    During delegation of a task, the accountability of the task transfers from the manager to the person receiving the delegation and actually completing the work. It is the answerability for the performance of the assigned duties and any positive or negative consequences associated with their performance are ultimately their responsibility.

    When delegating, authority, responsibility and accountability are all interrelated. A manager is responsible for all actions of employees under his leadership even if there are a number of layers in the organisation.

    Accountability means that the subordinate should explain any factors that are responsible for poor or lack of performance, however, the manager is ultimately responsible for the overall performance of the employee.

Authority, responsibility and accountability are 3 key terms in the process of delegation, and if you would like to know more then do give me a call on 01280 700405 or click here to ping me an email and let’s see how I can help you.

Until next time …




If you’re looking for a partner to help grow your business, visit to discover how 4P Business Development can help you!