Monday, January 10, 2011

Dumping vs. Delegating

No DumpingImage via Wikipedia
There is a fine line between dumping and delegating. I work with an administrator who fancies himself a great delegator.This past year I have worked with him more closely and have been the recipient of said delegation more than once and I felt more like a victim than a co-worker.

After being left holding the bag and wondering what was in it, I started wondering why this administrator believes he such a whiz at delegation. Which led me to the question of what is the difference between delegation and dumping? I think that when it is just a pile, it's dumping. When it is without direction it is dumping. For example, I was at my desk, just in from another daily project that is time based. In walks said administrator, drops off a problem and leaves. The problem must be dealt with immediately because it is alive, a human being. Since, I must do something I ask the problem what the problem is, knowing this problem won't tell me what the real problem is because that would probably be self incrimination. So, I end up wasting about 45 minutes trying to find accomplices and witnesses while the problem is seated, unproductive. In the meantime, all attempts to reach the dumper for clarification are fruitless because he has more important things to do and is not answering phone calls. That is an example of a dump, not a delegation.

When a good administrator passes something on they empower the recipient with the needed information and direction. Sometimes co-planning is needed where clearly defined goals are set. People who dump do just the opposite by not planning and having unclear goals and thus confusion and irresponsibility on their part. When the inevitable failures occurs the dumper blames the dumpie and deflects all responsibility to the dumpie.  Dumpers are experts at not taking responsibility for failures and blaming others.

Now, my next question is: how do I avoid being the dump site? 
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