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3 Tutorials that teach Decision Making
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Decision Making

Decision Making

Author: James Howard
Description:

This lesson explains the idea of delegation and authority in business

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Tutorial

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Hello, and welcome to this tutorial on decision making. Now as always with these tutorials, please feel free to fast forward, pause, or rewind as many times as you need in order to get the most out of the time you're going to spend here. And as always, let me ask you a question to start.

How do you make a decision when you're faced with the problem? Is there a particular process that you go through? Well, during this tutorial what we're going to be looking at are determining decision makers, and who those decision makers are.

We're also going to look at delegation. And lastly we're going to look at different forms of authority that exist in the management world. The key terms for this lesson are going to be line authority, staff authority, and committee and team authority.

So let's get started with determining the decision makers. Who are the decision makers? It can be a challenge sometimes to know who in an organization makes the decisions. Unless there's a clear line of-- chain of command within an organization, especially, you could end up with a lot of different bosses or a lot of different cooks in the kitchen.

Every body deciding that their way is the best, and trying to drive the organization the way that they see fit. And this can create a lot of confusion. And organizations have to clearly detail who's in charge, and who can decide what within an organization.

And they do that with three pretty simple steps. First of all, they assign responsibility. They determine who's going to be responsible for what particular work. Then they grant the authority or give the individual the ability one, to do the task, and authority over the others that may be working with them. And then access to the resources they are going to need if that's relevant to their particular job.

Next, they create accountability. They're going to indicate the nature and the time period of the accountability, or how long you have to do this job. And what standard you're going to be held to. And then they hold that individual manager accountable for the results of their work.

Now delegation is something that managers have to do. In order to be effective, a manager has to delegate some of the work to other people. That's why you have a team. You can't do all the work yourself and then have all of your employees sitting off to the side, wondering hey, what am I supposed to do?

Now understand, some managers are going to be pretty comfortable with this concept of delegation. They're going to fear things like the employee that they're delegating to isn't necessarily qualified. Or maybe they're afraid the employee is going to outperform them, and make them look bad.

Or sometimes you just feel this desire to retain control of it. If I do it, I know it'll get done right. Don't worry about it. Just go sit over there.

Or there's a concern for increased workload due to the needing to manage the delegated work. So instead of having everything in my little cubby hole, now I have to check on a lot of different people to make sure the delegated work is done correctly. Now a good delegator is going to clearly and comfortably delegate routine task, as well is really important tasks as well.

And he's going to broadly share responsibility and accountability with the people in his team. He's also going to tend to trust the people he works with, and let them finish their own work. He's not going to be in there every few minutes, checking to make sure that it's done, and constantly interrupting them and making the work take longer.

So here's the thing about forms of authority. It's important to understand with forms of authority, that as organizations develop generally, the approach to authority that they have develops also. Now some forms of authority that we're going to look at-- and these are some of our key terms-- are number one, line authority. Now line authority is the rigid structure of an organization where the manager requires the subordinates to follow their instructions.

Line authority you see in the direct chain of command within an organization. And this can be pretty useful. If a manager didn't have a line authority in order to require a subordinate to follow their instructions, a subordinate could do whatever they wanted, including things that weren't necessarily conducive to getting the job at hand done.

Next, we have staff authority. Now staff authority is the structure of an organization where the manager advises subordinates, but does not require them to follow instructions. Now staff authority is when you have folks like specialists or doctors.

People who are highly qualified, and can make up their own mind and do their own work. When you have specialists, in particular, you really want to use something like staff authority for those who have authority. Micromanaging someone who is a professional can be very, very bad for morale, and end up having a project take longer then it normally would have.

Lastly, you have committee, or team authority. And this is the structure of an organization where a group reaches a consensus on specific areas and advises on specific areas for the organization. For instance, when you form a committee, like a safety committee at work, and those folks have been invested with a particular authority to advise upper management or require other folks within the organization to follow these safety rules based on what they've seen and what they've talked about and thought was the best idea for an organization, based on a particular problem, like reducing back injuries, for instance.

So what did we talk about today? Well, we looked at determining who those decision makers are within an organization. We also talked about delegation, and how good delegator not only is going to be a more effective manager, but is also probably going to have better employees. Especially because we can develop those skills within the employees.

And lastly, we looked at those different forms of authority. Line, staff, and committee and team authority, and how those affect different jobs. And how you may want to use, those depending on who you have that you're trying to manage. As always, I want to thank you for spending some time with me today. And I hope you folks have a great day.

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Line Authority

    The rigid structure of an organization where the manager requires the subordinates to follow their instructions.

  • Staff Authority

    The structure of an organization where the manager advises subordinates, but does not require them to follow instructions.

  • Committee and Team Authority

    The structure of an organization where a group reaches a consensus on specific areas and advises on specific areas for the organization.