11 Barriers to Delegation of Authority & Ways To Overcome

Barriers To Delegation of Authority

It is essential to delegate authority to subordinates for the timely completion of tasks and ensure efficiency in the organization. But it is not such easy there can be various obstacles/barriers to authority delegation either from the managers as well as employees.

Although authority delegation provides many advantages to the company, it is not easy and acceptable for all the team members of the organization. In many cases, managers fail to delegate authority to their subordinates while in many cases, employees refuse the delegated authority.

Such obstacles or problems that lead to the problem while delegating authority are known as barriers to a delegation of authority. These barriers can be classified into two groups, one is related to managers and another is employees.

Let’s discuss the common barriers to authority delegation and ways to overcome them.

Barriers Related To Managers (Authority Delegator)

Managers in different situations show unwillingness to delegate authority to their subordinates. Such factors or reasons that are related to managers causing problems in the delegation of authority are mentioned below:

Lack of Directing Ability

Managers can be reluctant to delegate authority because of their poor ability to direct their subordinates. If they are unorganized and less competent to manage subordinates, they fear losing their ability to direct.

Lack of Trust

Many traditional managers do not trust their subordinates for their capability. They speculate that subordinates could be unable to make wise decisions when it comes to responsibility.

It’s common for managers to have little faith in their employees’ loyalty. Managers who lack confidence in their employees’ abilities and loyalty do not want to delegate authority.

Fear of Subordinates

Some managers show a reluctance to transfer authority because they lack confidence in their abilities and are out of touch with current organizational practices. Managers believe that if they delegate authority, their staff will no longer respect them.

Related: Process of Authority Delegation

They believe that by giving authority to subordinates who are capable of managing tasks more effectively and efficiently, they risk losing their moral authority to do so.

Often, they fear exposing their incapability by subordinates to other organizational members. Thus, they do not want to delegate authority to employees.

Showing Personal Importance

Many managers think if they delegate authority they lose their importance in the organization. They think the subordinates do not respect managers if they get authority from managers. Because of this reason, managers hesitate to delegate authority.

Lack of Assessment Skills

In the delegation of authority, only the delegation of authority and responsibility is not enough to get the expected results. Managers also need to have skills to effectively assess the performance of subordinates to whom they have delegated tasks.

Managers should guide and instruct the subordinates after giving necessary authority and responsibility. Assessment of subordinates’ performance with the standard one is essential in the delegation process.

Authoritarian Tendency

The authoritarian management style also creates barriers to the delegation of authority. Such managers support autonomy, delegation, and constant monitoring of staff members. They are unwilling to ever give even a small portion of their authority. They overburden themselves and can not devote more time to managerial functions.

Related: Principles of Delegation

Barriers Related To Employees (Authority Receiver)

In many situations, employees do not accept authority from their superiors. Refusing the tendency of employees also creates problems in authority delegation.

Some common reasons for which subordinates hesitate to receive authority from superiors are mentioned below:

Lack of Self-Confidence

It is a common issue for subordinates that many of them lack self-confidence and trust in order to perform the job well. They believe that in order to receive power from superiors, they must perform at their highest level.

They fear poor performance for the higher level of responsibility. Thus, employees refuge authority from the senior manager.

Lack of Incentives

Subordinates believe that taking more responsibility will automatically grant them greater authority. They believe they must put in greater effort due to the increased obligation.

They request greater incentives as a result, but they rarely receive any further financial incentives. Subordinates may avoid extra responsibility if extra incentives are not provided.

Related: Characteristics of Delegation

Lack of Information and Resources

Many subordinates do not accept the responsibility easily because they do not get easy access to the information and resources. Responsibility cannot be carried out in the absence of resources and information. In such a situation, subordinates become reluctant to accept delegated authority.

Fear of Criticism

Many subordinates fear criticism for any mistake that may happen during the job accomplished. Because of fear of failure, subordinates deny extra authority and responsibility.

A Habit of Depending Upon Manager

Many employees feel comfortable working under the direct supervision and control of managers. They feel comfortable doing things guided by others. They depend upon their superiors for information and ways to conduct tasks.

They do not want to take responsibility and act independently as they think decision-making incurs the challenge of failure.

Ways To Overcome Barriers To Authority Delegation

Managers can follow certain guidelines to overcome barriers to effective delegation. Following are some ways/guidelines that can be followed to reduce barriers while delegating authority.

  • Make sure employees understand the purpose of happening of delegation of authority.
  • Delegate authority to the subordinate who is competent to use it in required situations.
  • Create a proper balance between authority and responsibility.
  • Assign responsibility and authority according to the employee’s interest, skills, experience, and capacity.
  • Provides necessary training.
  • Motivate them to take more responsibility and authority,
  • Make the delegation process flexible, etc.

Read Next: Importance of Authority Delegation

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