Spreading the Load

Last week I shared an article about some potential problems that can crop up if collaboration efforts are not managed effectively. One of the issues that may surface is the stress and burnout for top performers when they are continually sought out by others in the organization. Likewise, as managers we likely have certain employees who are considered stars and it can be tempting to turn to them on a frequent basis to get the work done in an organization. However, it is important that we proactively manage the work that is being delegated so as to avoid overloading some employees and at the same time taking steps to help raise up lower performing employees. Although management may be as much art as it is science, we can still bring some structure to this delegation process as discussed in the article Make Sure Your Team's Workload Is Divided Fairly.

The article brings up several steps and actions that managers can take when delegating assignments and projects. The main thing is to be aware and plan for the delegation of assignments. The article in particular provides several questions you can use for reflection in trying to figure all of this out.

If you read the article, you will also find a nice summary of important topics to keep in mind:

Principles to Remember
  • Devote time in your schedule for thinking through your strategy for delegating.
  • Make a list of all the work that needs to get done and then assign tasks according to your team members’ specific function, position, and strengths.
  • Create a culture that values productivity over hours worked by openly praising strong performance.

  • Be overly rigid about your workload delegation strategy; when projects crop up and priorities shift, you need to be flexible.
  • Burn out your top performer. Before you lean on her more, identify the projects that can go on the backburner.
  • Beat around the bush with an employee who’s not pulling his weight. Be direct about your expectations.


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