Unplanned Delegation

As managers we are constantly being urged to delegate, but if it is not done properly, delegation can be a major cause of stress in others.

In countless coaching and training workshops I meet people who cite the most common cause of stress as being, what might politely be called, unplanned delegation.  This is where their carefully thought out plan is thrown into disarray when their boss suddenly dumps a new task on them, often with unrealistic deadlines and often without any discussion – the recipient simply hears about it through email.

The reason this is such a major cause of stress is because to have a good work-life balance we all need to plan our time carefully.  If something extra is added into our plan then something else has to give, and unfortunately, more often than not, that is our free time.

The solution is to remember that your time is valuable as well.  If you are asked to do something at short notice, don’t commit to doing it straight away.  Take some time to consider how you could rearrange your plan to accommodate it and then briefly discuss with your boss how you could juggle things around to accommodate the new task.  The purpose of this is to help them understand the impact the new task is likely to have on other priorities.

As I am writing this I can already hear you saying things like “you don’t know my boss”.  True, but I do know that most people are reasonable and that when they make requests of others they are probably not fully aware of the pressures they are under.  By helping them to understand the way you manage your time you will help to reduce the problem of unplanned delegation and help them to appreciate what a good job you are doing.

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