What is the difference between true delegation or empowerment and simply shifting duties and responsibilities?
all ThaT empowermeNT Jazz
Additional Topics—Authority; Communication; Leadership; Motivation
“As a middle manager, I’ve got five supervisors to deal with on a daily basis,” said business office manager Susan Benton to Craig Williams, the hospital’s training manager. “Over the past several years, I’ve tried as hard as I could to use true par- ticipative management techniques in dealing with them, but this effort seems to be backfiring on me.”
“How so?” asked Craig. “Well, I’ve tried to delegate to them faithfully and completely—or I guess I
should say I’ve tried to empower them, using today’s more acceptable terminology— and I’ve encouraged them to do the same with the people who report directly to them.”
Craig asked, “What’s wrong with that? As long as you’re clear and up-front in dealing with the supervisors, they should be able to do the same with their employees.”
“The problem is that most of the five supervisors act like all I’m doing is trying to shift my duties and responsibilities to them. The one who’s been toughest to deal with, Ellie Patrick in the billing section, told me she wouldn’t dream of backing away from her responsibilities by sticking someone else with them.”
Craig nodded. “Kind of a ‘the buck stops here’ reaction?” “Exactly,” said Susan. “Ellie used that precise phrase in describing her attitude
toward her responsibilities. And her attitude toward my responsibilities as well, I guess, when she told me directly, ‘Don’t try to hand me all that empowerment jazz, either.’”
1. What is the difference between true delegation or empowerment and simply shifting duties and responsibilities?
2. How should Craig Williams advise Susan Benton to proceed in dealing with her five supervisors?
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