The Art of Delegating – don’t take the monkey!

Discretionary Time

As she leaves my office once again I'm electrified by the sight of another back with the monkey on it. For one week she will owe me everything, and I will owe her nothing. I will be waiting for her, and she won't be frustrated by waiting for me. And several times during the week, just for therapy, I'll stick my head in her office and say, "How's it coming?" This is wonderful! Having now a bit of discretionary time, I'll use it in three ways: I'll try to get more control of boss ­imposed time by working higher on my freedom scale; secondly I'll work at building a better intra-organization rating in order to get control of my system-imposed time; and thirdly I now have more time for my subordinates because I've got­ten rid of subordinate-imposed time.

The Following Monday

Now, on with the story. It is now the following Monday, one week after I returned Ms. A's status reports to her. She walks into my office toting an overstuffed, hard-cover, three-ring binder containing her fifty "status memoranda" and, grinning sheepishly, she lays it before me. "Well, here's my executive coloring book. I learned more from this exercise than you would have learned if you had read them all yourself. For one thing, much that I had proposed in the earlier memos is now either discarded or active as on-going projects."  

"You mean that you took the initiative when you finally felt compelled to?" I ask.

  "In some cases, yes. In other cases I persuaded other departments to request that I take the action. As you know, I have both the authority and the responsibility to act on requests from other departments when they've got project numbers I can charge our costs to."  

"You mean that your progress hadn't been held up by my not being able to react promptly to your memoranda?"

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