I came across a short article on bees in an airline magazine. What a nice life worker bees have, at least in one respect. You see they go out and gather pollen and then return to the hive. That’s their job. Here’s the deal; they have the responsibility to harvest the pollen and the authority to carry it out.
The worker bee can leave the hive with a duty to fulfill. He’s not guided by another bee as to what direction or flower to visit. The worker leaves the hive to fulfill his own mission. Upon leaving the hive he chooses the direction(s) and plant(s) to use to accumulate the goods and complete the mission.
Bees have a great leadership system. The importance of the worker bee is vital to the group. Some would say it is programmed into the bee. That may be so. I wonder if this kind of responsibility and authority might not be programmed into people. First we give a person a responsibility, clearly outlining what is expected. Then we give them the authority to make decisions and instructions on how to make it happen. She/he might work like the bee, fulfilling the mission to the satisfaction of the team.
If they had responsibility but no authority, they would be like most humans who either resent the leadership, or rebel. Worker bees do well because they have responsibility and authority.
Points to Ponder –
What’s the difference between responsibility and authority? What’s the connection?
Can you remember a time when you had responsibility but no authority? How did you feel about the leadership in that situation?
Can you remember a time when you gave someone a responsibility but withheld the authority as far as decision-making was concerned?
Why would leadership want to withhold authority when giving responsibilities? Why would individuals want to have decision-making authority over their responsibilities?