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16 Delegation Failures

We've all been there.  Trying to make our work-lives more efficient, transfer knowledge to newer team members and leverage our practice.  Sometimes it works, and, well, sometimes the result is embarrassing at best.  If you’ve ever wondered if you’re a delegation master, or one who could use a few tweaks to make the most of your efforts, you're in the right place.  Below are a few ways to recognize when you might not have done the very best job ever in delegating your work.

16 Delegation Failures

  1. Forgetting to specify a deadline for the project.
  2. Forgetting to specify the actual deliverable.
  3. Expecting your intern to produce a magnificently polished piece of work.
  4. Expecting your boss to forgive you for mistakes someone else made.
  5. Forgetting to put your name on your delegatee’s work when the end result is something you're proud to be associated with.
  6. Forgetting to take your name off your delegatee’s work when you'd like to distance yourself with at least a 10 foot pole.
  7. Giving ridiculously detailed instructions, leaving no piece of the project to chance, creativity or use of delegatee’s actual talent, which ends up taking more time than it would have to do the project to begin with.
  8. Giving minimal (i.e. “no”) instructions then getting mad when your delegatee doesn’t execute the way you thought they would.
  9. Forgetting to make sure your delegatee actually knows the purpose of the project you’ve asked them to do.
  10. Forgetting to make sure you actually know the purpose of the project you just delegated.
  11. Checking in only when the project is due to make sure they’re going to turn it in on time.
  12. Checking in as soon as you’ve given the project to your delegatee to make sure they’re doing it exactly the way you had instructed them to in step 7 above.  Checking in again 20 minutes later to make sure the font is correct, and again five more minutes later because the text alignment absolutely needs to be to the top of each cell.  Not that I’ve ever done that.
  13. Spending four hours writing review notes and comments and using Track Changes rather than actually talking to your delegatee.
  14. Spending four hours agonizing over why you thought delegating was a good idea in the first place.
  15. Spending four hours drinking because you know you can’t make your deadline now anyway.
  16. Spending four hours between 5 – 9 am redoing the entire project and dreaming of a vacation far, far away.

If you are engaging in any number of these practices, or a victim of them, you’re not alone. And there is hope! There are some simple ways to delegate more effectively.  A tip sheet on the topic is available, just shoot us an email!

On the other hand, if this list looks more like a checklist of things you do each time you delegate, maybe it’s time to re-consider an Individual Contributor role.