30 Jul Why are you on the payroll?
The purpose of delegation is to facilitate the manager to have enough resources, so he /she can focus in on the critical issues which have the greatest impact on the continuing achievement of the businesses SMART objectives. By definition if the manager allows himself / herself to be caught up in less valuable activities, then the business will not be as successful as it could be. Delegation is supposed to be downwards, but it is often upwards. This is often called reverse delegation. This manifests itself when your staff are dumping their tasks / issues on to your table and you are not kicking them back to where they belong. Successful management hinges on your ability to control this ‘”monkey-on-your-back” tactic.
There are a number of time optimization models as follows.
- Boss-imposed time– to accomplish those activities that the boss requires and demands.
- System-imposed time– to feed the bureaucracy and controls.
- Self-imposed time– to do those things that you want to do. Because of lack of external disciplines reverse delegation is very likely here.
The MONKEY is about to land.
Let us imagine that a manager is walking down the hall and he notices Jack one of his staff coming up the hallway. Jack greets him with, “Boss will you have a look at this issue”? The trap here is that the manager is perceived to know enough to get involved but not enough to make the on-the-spot decision expected of him.
What is his response? —– leave it with me and I will have a look at it. Now the manager has taken the monkey and the employee is relieved of it. The monkey has now landed on the manager’s shoulder. No wonder managers go around like hunchbacks. The weight of other people’s monkeys is weighing them down.
Employee imposed time begins the moment a monkey successfully executes a leap from the back of an employee to the back of his or her superior and does not end until the monkey is returned to its proper owner for care and feeding. In accepting the monkey, the manager has voluntarily assumed a position subordinate to his staff.
The staff member, to make sure the manager does not miss the point, will later stick his /her head into the manager’s office and cheerily query, “How’s it coming?” (This is called supervision.).
As a manager you must identify the flight of these upward monkey movements. If you keep taking, staff will continue to relieve themselves by parachuting their monkeys across to your tiring shoulder. You are now becoming a less effective manager, since your scarce resources, especially time, is being utilized trying to solve other persons issues. This is not very smart either from a personal or business perspective.
You must stop the monkey landing on your shoulder. You do this by challenging the employee by such tactics as.
- Why are you on the payroll?
- Are you not capable of doing it?
- What two possible solutions have you worked out to sort this?
- Reverse it to Boss-imposed time, whereby the staff member must take responsibility and report back to you by appointment.
- “Boss we have a problem”—- be careful of greetings like this. Its like getting the landing strip ready for dumping their monkey onto your shoulder.
Get control over the timing and content of what you do, so as to free up your time to think strategically about your businesses positioning and where it might gain competitive advantage.
Blaise Brosnan. ©