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

The Other Subordinates

In the above description Fred dealt with only one of his subordinates, George, as he illustrated the contrast between his amateur and professional behaviour as a manager. But he has four other staff managers - Ms. A, Mr. B, Mr. C, and Mr. D.  

Before Fred's conversion to a "pro" he was the rankest of amateur. But so were George and A, B, and C. They surrendered their own freedom by allowing their monkeys to leap onto Fred's back, and he as an amateur was helpless to prevent their doing it. Mister D, on the other hand, was a "pro."

Here's how Fred describes these four subordinates and how his conversion affected them. The descriptions of A, B, and C will give you some valuable pointers on how to coach your subordinates up their freedom scales. The description of Mr. D illustrates something perhaps even more valuable to you - a professional manager in action, moving up the freedom scale with an amateur boss.  

Ms. A

Ms. A is my Director of Market Research, a quiet sort of job in which matters of critical importance don't come up more often than once every six weeks or so. Some time ago she realised that I wouldn't miss her even if she didn't show up for work for as long as two weeks at a stretch. To overcome this lack of day-to-day recognition, she has cultivated the habit of preparing every Friday a "Memorandum for File, Subject: Current Status. Copy to F. Stancombe." When the first of these fell in my "IN" basket a year ago, I welcomed it as a fine idea. If Ms. A dropped dead over the weekend I would know how to pick up where she left off. Reading her first three-page opus on my way home on the bus, I found that it was more than just a status report. It was studded with out­standing money-making ideas, each of which was accompanied by thinly-veiled suggestions and indirectly-worded hints that some action was expected from me with regard to each suggestion.
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