I’ve noticed something over the years that often happens to three categories of people in many situations:
- Subject Matter Experts, and
Team members that report to managers are either unable or afraid to make decisions and have learned that they can pass the hard part off to the manager, who will take the work back because they are too busy and frustrated to deal with the problem.
Subject Matter Experts
Team members come to the subject matter expert with a problem. Instead of looking for ideas in finding a solution, they pass the problem onto the subject matter expert for resolution. The subject matter expert finds that it’s easier and faster to solve the problem themselves.
In business and at work suckers are people who:
- Take other peoples’ problems, even though the issue is not really theirs, because it make them feel needed and important… the go to person.
- Managers who allow team members to reverse delegate.
- Subject Matter Experts who let team members drop problems on them and run.
This differs from doing someone a favour in two ways: the motive of the shirker and the lack of reciprocity.
I admit it. I’ve been a sucker in the past… on all three fronts.
So have most people.
The problem is… you are not really solving the problem by being a sucker and in fact you are both limiting your career, the career of the person dumping problems on you and the potential of your business.
The art of delegation is simple in theory:
- Ensure you train your team members to do the work themselves.
- Delegate work appropriately.
- Make team members accountable for doing the work correctly and at an appropriate level of quality.
- When people come to you for help, teach them to move up the responsibility ladder (bottom of ladder is problem identification and top of ladder is presenting options and recommendations).
The hard part is changing your own habits and response to reverse delegation.
But do your business, yourself and your teammates a favour… master the art of delegation and stop being a sucker.