How do you delegate?

Technique 1

A shout across the office: “Hey John, can you prep that document for me?”

“OK” says John.

Now if you have a close working relationship with a colleague you may be able to delegate this way, but only if John almost lives in your pocket.

You are making the following assumptions:

  • John knows what document you are referring to
  • John shares your view of exactly what a “prep’d” document looks like
  • John knows when it needs to be done by
  • John is under his own pressures and when he is tight for time he needs to know its relative importance compared to his other commitments
  • John has the skills to do the “prep”
  • John sees it as part of his job

Unless John knows the contents of your mind, he is going to get at least one of these wrong.  He is most likely to write a note on his To Do list and carry on with what he is doing.  And even worse: he will probably put it off because he is not sure exactly what you want.

Then you’ll blame him as a poor employee for not doing his job.

Technique 2

So try “John, can you prep a training document for me? – I need it by the end of tomorrow.  Can you do something similar to the one we did for David last month.  This one is really important as Julie needs to take it with her next week to see a big new client.  I’m only asking you because I know you will do it well.

Now isn’t that more likely to get you what you need?


If you’d like to understand more about SMART delegation, you might consider attending our Delegation and Time Efficiency course.