Delegation Dilemma

Julia slumped across her desk, head in hands staring at the pile of work she just received. She was wondering how she was going to distribute all of it to her staff who already felt overworked.

The holidays were rapidly approaching and she could already hear their comments at the upcoming staff meeting. Bob, one of her supervisors and most productive employees would roll his eyes and tell her he would not be working any overtime and he would not be cancelling or changing his vacation. She knew that Bob’s wife coordinated her vacation with him as well as the vacations of their children. So getting more hours from Bob would be impossible. In addition she did not feel it was worth threatening their rapport and good working relationship in order to simply get him to put in a few more hours.

Audrey was her most experienced and knowledgeable employee but was rather resistant to change and wasn’t exactly the best at getting along with other people or working together with other departments. Audrey worked best when she worked alone. Surely Audrey could take on some of the work but Julia knew that doing so might make her even more temperamental than she currently was. There certainly would be some complaints from other department managers as well as other employees. Again, in Julia’s mind, upsetting the “Audrey applecart” was not worth the effort to attempt to delegate this additional work.

She also knew if Bob and Audrey (her best people) were resistant in taking on additional work, certainly the rest of the staff, who followed their lead, would not be willing. She could do as she had done before and distribute the work evenly among all of the members of her staff but it just ended up resulting in more errors and duplicate work than was practical. Often times the employees would go to Audrey and Bob for help anyway. Her last attempt at doing so almost called the departmental mutiny.

Sadly, Julia felt the best way to handle this new pile of work was to get it done herself. But she also knew she would have to cancel her holiday plans which would greatly disappoint her family. Not to mention the fact that this wasn’t very good leadership.

How do you think Julia should deal with this situation?

Maybe it sounds familiar. I will be collecting responses and next week I will be delivering another email with the best suggestions and my advice in how to deal with this kind of issue.