Delegation in itself can be considered one the most misunderstood functions in management responsibilities. Even though there are many of us who find ourselves in this position, the task of delegating responsibilities still has its purpose. When delegating in the military, it is done in a slightly different manner which is not always the same as that of the civilian world.

Let's face it, every manager or official has found themselves in the position to where they have to delegate authority to other employees. Even if it makes them feel uncomfortable, the task of delegating must still be focused on the accomplishment of their mission within their organization. However, care must still be taken not to lose the respect of those to whom you are designating assigned tasks. It is easy for one to achieve the responsibilities of a manager who has to delegate responsibilities to others, but it is just as easy to lose the respect of others when that authority is misused or misinterpreted.

First, let us define what delegation is. Delegation is the handing of a task over to another person, usually a subordinate. It is the assignment of authority and responsibility to another person to carry out specific activities. It allows a subordinate to make decisions, i.e. it is a shift of decision-making authority from one organizational level to a lower one. Delegation, if properly done, is not abdication. The opposite of effective delegation is micromanagement, where a manager provides too much input, direction and review of 'delegated' work.

In the military, this type of delegation often occurs, but is under a different title. In the military, this process of delegating is called "being given a direct order". Giving direct orders is how the transaction of delegating is passed down from commissioned officers to non-commissioned officers to junior enlisted members. Delegating authority is not an easy task, but is still a necessary part of any good business. It is another way for a manager and/or supervisor to build confidence in his/her subordinates.

Delegating responsibility in the military is a characteristic that every service member must sooner or later become familiar with. It is not something that you just learn over night. These are skills that take time to develop. In any organization, even one such as the military, managers and higher level supervisors and officials task subordinates for completion of certain types of missions.

More about Delegation

Get Access