The Art of Delegating – don’t take the monkey!
Mr. D's Project"How long will it take you to get this thing off the ground?" I ask, emphasizing that I don't want to stop anything else he's doing.
"I think I can get through Phase 1 within six weeks, at which point we ought to take stock together."
"You've got the job," I reply, thumbing ahead on my calendar pad to a date exactly six weeks hence and writing thereon a notation, "Nine o'clock. Mister D reports on project. Reserve two hours. Don't miss this meeting." Before I can lay down my pencil Mister D is on his way out of my office. . As I look at his back I see an exhilarating sight . . .a back with the monkey on it! That's the way we both want it. But whenever my other subordinates are allowed into my office they always leave the monkey with me. As Mister D walks over the threshold into the outer office I contemplate the heavy load of boss-imposed tasks on his shoulders. "Happy is the man," I muse, "most of whose boss-imposed tasks were hatched up in his own self-imposed mind!" He had maintained control of the timing and the content of his work. I think of Mister D as one of the most compliant men on my staff. He complies with my every wish. "To be sure," I reflect, "he tells me what to wish, but why dwell on trivialities? He practices yes-manship at its professional best."
Discretionary TimeBefore Mister D disappears through the outer door I call to him, "Mister D! Come back here! What's your hurry?" "You said you had but a few 'minutes," he calls back, "and my time was up."
"You idiot," I whisper when he's back inside. "Now that we know whose back the monkey is on, I've got all day!" With that I put my feet on my desk and motion him to my sofa. Life is becoming worth living. Mister D spends another half-hour picking my brains to make sure that he had overlooked nothing when, weeks earlier arid unbeknownst to me, he had climbed into the cockpit of my mind. I now open my mind to him freely, enjoying the calm known only to those who are secure from upward-climbing monkeys. Having explored my mind (he might have found it empty, it makes no difference) he leaves for his own office as I make haste to lock my door behind him. Passing my other subordinates hurriedly to avoid their resentful and envious glances, he congratulates himself on having such a fine boss. He fails to overhear their remarks about their misfortune at, having a boss (the same one!) who plays such favourites. "What does the boss see in Mister D that we don't see?" they ask one another as, shaking their bewildered heads, they slump back into their chairs defeated.