delegation

Ask For What You Want

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • Should I ask or tell my directs what I want them to do?
  • What should I say to make my directs do what I want them?
  • How do I make sure they answer?

This guidance recommends asking your directs for work to be done - meaning requesting things in the form of a question - rather than stating your desire for something to occur.

Most managers, when they need something done, tell their directs what to do. Telling relies on role power. It works, but there's a better, more strategic way: asking.


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"But I LIKE Doing That Part Of My Job!"

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • What do I do when my directs don't want to give up unnecessary work?
  • How do I get my directs to do the tasks I want them to?
  • How do I delegate more to busy directs?

This guidance recommends how to address a direct who likes part of his/her job and won't stop doing it, or won't focus on other areas that are more valuable.

What do you do when your directs really like doing a part of their job that you believe isn't valuable? To be more precise, when they think it's more valuable than you do, or when you think there IS value, but not as much as something else you believe is more valuable.

It's really pretty easy, and here's how.


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How To Use A RACI Matrix

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • What is a RACI matrix?
  • When do I use a RACI matrix?
  • Why would I use a RACI matrix?

This guidance describes how to use a RACI [Responsible, Accountable, Consult, Inform] Matrix when determining project responsibilities.

When you're starting a project, there are all kinds of people with fingers in the pie. There are people who want to be on the team. There are people who are affected by the work. There are people who aren't affected by the project but whose budget IS. There are people who don't want the project to succeed, but will only privately work against it. There are people who need to know stuff...but other people who WANT to know stuff.

How do we help project managers - or how do WE as project managers - keep track of who's responsible for what? We use a responsibility matrix. The best one is called the RACI - pronounced Ray-See.


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How To Avoid Reverse Delegation

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • How do I stop my directs giving my work back to me?
  • How do I help my directs without doing their work for them?
  • How do I encourage the behaviours I want from my directs?

This guidance describes how to avoid having your directs give you work that you've already assigned to them.

We'll start this guidance with a first: a caveat. We know there are times when you'll want to do a favor for a direct. We know it's natural and normal for you to make a call on their behalf, or sketch out verbally how you would structure a deck. No problem there.

What we're talking about here is avoiding the natural tendency to "take back" some of what you've just assigned them. When we've just delegated something, and they want some help, it's not effective to offer to do part of their work.

Here's how to say no.


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Delegating To The Floor

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • What do I do when my directs don't want to give up unnecessary work?
  • How do I get my directs to do the tasks I want them to?
  • How do I delegate more to busy directs?

This guidance describes how to help individual contributors handle an overload in work.

What do you do when you're a frontline manager and you get more work to do? Well, if you're smart, you delegate. To your directs.

But usually if you're busy, so are your directs. So what do THEY do when you give them more, only they're already fully "busy"?

They delegate too. To the floor. Here's how.


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The One Third-Planning Rule - Part 2

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • What is the 1/3 planning rule?
  • Can I use my entire 1/3rd?
  • How do I use warning orders?

This cast concludes our guidance explaining the One-Third Planning Rule: when assessing and assigning work to your team, never take more than 1/3 of the available time to do so.


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The One Third-Planning Rule - Part 1

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • What is the 1/3 planning rule?
  • Can I use my entire 1/3rd?
  • How do I use warning orders?

This guidance explains the One-Third Planning Rule: when assessing and assigning work to your team, never take more than 1/3 of the available time to do so.

Mark's brother once sent him a joke memo, about all the ways managers DON'T motivate their teams. One of the items was, "always wait until 5 o'clock to give me important stuff to do - I like surprises right before I go home." "In all humor, truth," unfortunately. Lots of bosses are inconsiderate when thinking about how much time they need to think about something versus how much time their directs need to actually DO something.

Your team wants to know NOW when you get a requirement or job or project or new tasking that they're going to be involved in. They do NOT want you to wait one second longer than you have to. Surely not until they're about to go home!

But wait. You want some time to think things through, right? You don't want to assign something and discover an hour's worth of your thought would have saved 50 of their man-hours. So, it makes sense to spend time to get things right, think through the issues, risks, etc.

Who's right?

Both are ... and the way to manage your responsibility is to follow the One-Third Planning Rule.


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Over Assigning And Delegating Work - Part 3

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • Can I delegate more to busy directs?
  • How do I get my directs to do the tasks I want them to?
  • How do I delegate to my directs?

This cast concludes our recommendations on developing your directs by always having them have more to do than they have time to do...by assigning and delegating more work than they think they can do.


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Over Assigning And Delegating Work - Part 2

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • Can I delegate more to busy directs?
  • How do I get my directs to do the tasks I want them to?
  • How do I delegate to my directs?

This cast continues our recommendations on developing your directs by always having them have more to do than they have time to do...by assigning and delegating more work than they think they can do.


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Over Assigning And Delegating Work - Part 1

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • Can I delegate more to busy directs?
  • How do I get my directs to do the tasks I want them to?
  • How do I delegate to my directs?

This guidance recommends developing your directs by always having them have more to do than they have time to do...by assigning and delegating more work than they think they can do.


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Great bosses assign more work than their directs can do. It's that simple. Great bosses don't try to figure out what each of their directs' comfort level is. They don't negotiate a balance. They don't start small with an amount that anyone could do, and then develop a gradual plan of improvement.

Nope. They intentionally give everyone more work to do than they think or know or believe or hope they can do. They OVER-ASSIGN. They OVER-delegate. They don't try to get an exact right balance - there is no such thing. What is true of communications is true of work responsibility assignments: you're either going to do too much, or too little, but the chance you're going to do exactly the right amount is marginally ZERO. So, the only question is whether you're going to be above or below what your team is capable of. What most managers do is try to balance two largely unrelated factors - how much work the organization seems to be demanding of you, and how busy your directs say they are.

We are tempted to call this cast the Peter Drucker Productivity Guidance. Why? Because Drucker once said, the productivity of the worker is not the responsibility of the worker but of the manager.

The productivity of the worker is not the responsibility of the worker but of the manager.

Peter Drucker

Isn't some of what the organization asks of you and yours largely unnecessary? (Of course it is: you're not doing it and not getting in any trouble). And isn't it likely that your directs are over-stating how busy they are? (Of COURSE they are - no one, we'd bet, has ever said to you, hey, I'm not that busy, give me some more to do.) So, effective managers realize that the way to address this is to have the right, best work efforts force out the work that is least likely to be valuable. And that means over-assigning...and teaching triage and prioritization to your team.

Here's how you can get more productivity. Because you do NOT want to disappoint Mr. Drucker!


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