be written into law. The assumption of this authority
leads some to perform actions above and beyond the
call of duty. It leads others to do their everyday jobs
better than they really have to. Authority, then, lies in
the law, in the respect of your workers, and in your own
ability to lead.
All persons in the naval service are required to
maintain good order and discipline to the best of their
ability and extent of their authority. All persons in the
naval service have the right to exercise proper authority
over those persons subordinate to them. Conversely, all
persons in the naval service are charged to obey readily
and execute promptly all lawful orders of their
Limits of Authority
Authority includes the right to require actions of
others by oral or written orders. Orders must be lawful
and not characterized by tyrannical or capricious
conduct, or by abusive language. Organizational
authority beyond that necessary to fulfill assigned duties
and responsibilities is not delegated. Authority should
never be delegated beyond the lowest level of
competence and may be limited by command.
Delegating authority means a person in authority
may send another person to act or transact business on
his or her behalf. Delegating authority does not relieve
a person of responsibility. Personnel at each level should
delegate as much decision making authority as possible
to the level below them and hold those people
accountable. This accounting gives the person to whom
the individuals report an account of their success or
PURPOSE OF DELEGATING
Many managers have great difficulty delegating
authority (power). Delegation is not giving away power.
Power-motivated managers make their subordinates
feel stronger through sharing their power. You retain
responsibility when you delegate power; indeed, you
cannot give away or delegate responsibility.
When delegating a task, also delegate the authority
necessary to carry out a task. Failure to do this negates
the purpose of delegation. Withholding power results in
less confident subordinates who are afraid to attempt
projects for fear of failure.
In todays Navy, personnel cuts and reductions in
force among officer ranks is commonplace. Many senior
and master chiefs now fill billets formerly occupied by
officers. You may not be commissioned, but the
responsibility goes with the position. You cannot do it
all and still hope to do a good job. Delegation is an
essential part of management. Learn to use it and reap
the benefits. Your subordinates will learn to act with
confidence and a sense of responsibility that is only
learned through experience. Your own job will be much
easier, with more time for training future managers.
Managers are often guilty of delegating
burdensome tasks that should remain at their level. A
manager must know when to delegate and when to do a
task personally. Avoid overtasking your subordinates. If
a particular job needs your personal attention, it should
not be delegated. Delegation is a tool you should use to
manage your time so that you will be able to perform
RESPONSIBILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY
Standard Organization and Regulations of the U.S.
Navy (SORN), OPNAVINST 3120.32B, states the
following: Authority should be delegated to the lowest
level of competence commensurate with the
subordinates assigned responsibility and capabilities.
The principles of delegation also recognize, however,
that officers at all levels must be accountable ultimately
for the performance of their organizational segments
even if they have charged subordinates with immediate
authority for managing certain functions.
GUIDELINES FOR DELEGATING
To follow through on planning and organizing and
optimizing use of resources, you must delegate
effectively. To delegate effectively, you must exercise
the following leadership traits:
authority for task
accomplishment to others.
Use the chain of command to get your people to
share in task management.
Encourage your people to seek responsibility by
ways other than direct orders to do a job.
Effective delegation is not just assigning work; it
also includes motivating your people by extending to