Published by Rachelle Disbennett-Lee
Thursday, May 2, 2002
Buck Stops Here, But Duck If Necessary
Delegation is a great tool. However, what do you do when
you are the last person in the delegation chain? You might
find yourself overloaded and under appreciated. There are
a few things you can do if you the last delegatee.
Make a list of all the projects you are working on. Then
schedule an appointment with the boss and ask for support
on how to handle your workload. Believe it or not the boss
may not be aware of how much you are doing. By making him
or her aware, they may be able to get you some help.
If there is no one who the boss can get to help, let the
boss decide what priority each project holds. By letting
the boss establish the priority of each project, you take
yourself off the hot seat of trying to decide what to do
If more than one person delegates to you, start a sign-up
list. Let each person know what you are working on and when
you will be able to complete their project. If they have
any concerns about this, suggest they go to the boss and
discuss how the job might be done sooner. Many times, people
will be OK with the time frame as long as they know up front.
If this doesn't work for them, they can choose alternatives
for getting their project done in their time frame.
Practice saying, "No." Often we say yes out of
fear of what others will think or that they may not like
us. If you can't fulfill a commitment, it is better to say
no rather than make a promise you cannot keep.
Stop volunteering. Those of us who can do a lot often think
we can do a lot more. There is a limit. Stop volunteering
for projects. Even though the project may sound interesting,
if you are already overloaded, volunteering will not make
matters better. If someone tries to volunteer you, practice
saying, "No." You can say something like, "It
sounds like a great opportunity. Unfortunately, I already
have more than enough to do and will have to pass on this
one." If it is the boss who is volunteering you, let
them know what you are already doing and then she or he
can decide how to prioritize.
There is a difference between being delegated to and being
dumped on. Do what you need to do to make sure the workload
is something you can handle. Remember to take care of yourself
and do what you have to do to protect your health and sanity.
As long as you let people overload you with work, they
will. Learn to say no and get help when you need it. There
is nothing wrong with having strong boundaries around what
you will and will not do. The more you respect yourself
and set your limit, the more others will respect you.
Are you doing too much?
Setting strong boundaries
+ Knowing personal limits + Saying No = Manage delegation
"We accomplish all that we do through delegation --
either to time or to other people." Stephen R. Covey