Delegation Vs Abdication

Being a leader requires the delegation of responsibilities, but never the abdication of responsibilities.

Jocko Willink often talks about the necessity of a decentralized command structure within an organization, if that organization is to be successful.

Leadership must delegate objectives and responsibilities to lower-level leaders who are closer to the ground where tasks are executed.

Everyone in this system must know enough about the overall objectives to make decisions based on ever-changing information and circumstances, while still accomplishing the mission.

If any leader is a bottleneck of information that stalls the process of execution, he/she has failed to train, educate, and empower his/her people enough to do their jobs. Leaders must train and trust leaders so that the job gets done without having to check in with top level leadership for every decision.

The problem, however, is that many people would rather abdicate responsibility to the next person down because delegation requires active involvement, goal setting, clear instructions, etc. Abdication, on the other hand, simply requires one to pass off problems, as well as blame.

A leader delegates and knows that all problems that occur on the path to success or failure are owned by him/her alone. This is what Jocko refers to as Extreme Ownership, something he wrote about in the book of the same name.

This principle of delegation over abdication can also be found in the book The E-Myth Revisited, by Michael E. Gerber.

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