Monkey Management: 3 Simple Steps to Get Tasks Done Correctly Through Delegation

Posted by Melanie Benson Strick - February 16, 2012 - Business Strategy, Outsourcing Strategies, Outsourcing/Team/Delegation - 2 Comments

Do you ever feel like you are carrying the weight of a thousand people on your back? Somehow no matter how good you think you are at delegating it still feels like you have a thousand things to do. It’s a feeling many entrepreneurs, managers and business owners have. William Oncken, author of Management Time: Who’s Got the Monkey, calls it “the monkey on your back”.

Here is how it happens:

With all good intentions, you have a conversation with your team member. You lay out all the steps necessary to finish the tasks the way you want it done. You identify when it needs to be done by. The due date comes and goes — no completion! What happened?

As you discuss with your webmaster why it wasn’t done, he tells you he is waiting on the auto-responders for your website opt-in page. In your mind, you never heard that you were going to have to create these auto-responders. Now you have another urgent, unplanned task on your desk.

Bahm! A monkey just got planted on your back.

Then you have a meeting with your marketing consultant. You receive a list of issues that must be handled before she can move forward with your marketing plans. You truly thought that these were things she had committed to taking care of but now she says they are your responsibilities.

Wham! Another monkey landed on your back. No wonder you feel so weighted down.

If you find that tasks, projects and deliverables that you delegate to other people don’t get accomplished and somehow end up back in your lap to complete, then you have a monkey management challenge.

A monkey is any idea, opportunity or task that when you try to delegate it lands back on your plate. Typically it happens when a project gets stalled because the other person doesn’t have the authority or knowledge to solve the problem so the task isn’t done correctly. Or due to their poor time management you get frustrated with their lack of progress and step in to get it done faster.

You probably have a Monkey Management problem if you find yourself trying to delegate but saying things like:

* Don’t worry about it, I’ll take care of it (or I’ll handle it.)

* If you have problems, just give me a call.

* If you can’t do it I’ll figure out how to get it done.

* You don’t have time? OK, well I can knock it out pretty fast.

* I’ll find someone to do it for you.

Monkey Management is by far one of the great reasons entrepreneurs get overwhelmed! And with good reason too. Here you think that you’ve successfully delegated but somehow that monkey ends up on your back.

How do you solve the Monkey Management challenge? As a recovering Monkey Manager, I’ve got three simple solutions for you:

1. Make sure that the person you are delegating to understands how much authority and autonomy they have in completing the task. Do they need to check with you or can they use discretion to complete on their own?

2. Determine a specific date to get a check in on the status of the project. If there is no ‘deadline’ to communicate progress, other projects will somehow become more important.

3. Never hand off a task without a complete and thorough plan of how the project or task will be accomplished. Be sure to check for knowledge, resources and time availability by the person assigned to the project.

Now imagine what your life and business will be like when you hand off a project to someone and can feel confident that the monkey won’t land on your back again. Now you can really get on the fast-track!

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Need help getting things done correctly and on time with your team? Take this free training and I’ll show you how to accelerate results with your very own dream team. More information can be found here.

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