[This post contains several instances of a word that’s sometimes bleeped out on American network television. For a creatively censored version of the same post, check out this Twitter thread instead.]
You want to get shit done, right?
But you won’t – unless you know what shit to do.
And your coworkers are the same way. Your boss, your peers, your direct reports. All of them.
- If they don’t know what shit to do, they won’t do shit. They’ll just procrastinate.
- Or else they will find different shit to work on, probably some shit that’s less important than the shit you wanted them to work on.
That’s why, if you want to get shit done, you have to learn to delegate.
Here is what NOT to do.
1. Don’t delegate what isn’t yours.
To delegate a project, you must have responsibility. That means the outcome of the work is on your head.
To delegate a project, you must also have authority. That means the method for the work is in your hands.
If the work is in your hands and the results are on your head, you own a project. If you own it, you can hand it off.
But if you don’t, you can’t.
A lot of projects get screwed up this way: The boss puts Person A on something, but Person B was on that thing already. The boss was trying to pass a ball he didn’t have. Now we’re all running circles. Shit’s not getting done.
2. Don’t take no answer for an answer.
When you delegate, the one to whom you delegate must say “ok, I’ve got this.” They must understand what you’ve asked and agree to do it.
If you get no response, no understanding, no agreement – then you didn’t delegate.
A lot of projects get screwed up this way as well: Your “delegation” sits there as an unread email at the bottom of somebody’s inbox. You may think you delegated. But shit isn’t getting done.
Your shit’s a football.
The points above are obvious. We get them messed up anyway.
So here’s a handy double-check before you delegate:
- If you don’t have it, then you cannot pass it.
- If you pass it and nobody catches it, you have to pick it up.
For companies to delegate well, everyone must always know who has the ball. Think of your latest project: Who has the responsibility? Who has authority?
Is it you?
Then you can delegate some shit.