It’s been a while since I focused on management techniques, but that is because I’ve been running into a lot of great managers recently so I haven’t had any topics come to mind. However, there is one undertone that I’ve been encountering so I figured it was worth a mention. Being that I have the pleasure of working across multiple areas and with multiple teams, I’m starting to see that often times each team has the “pass the buck” person. I’m sure you can already name who the person is on your team or you’re now worried it might be you.
When a team has the person who is always looking to pass on responsibilities it is usually because they haven’t realized how it affects the rest of the group. For example, a person might plan a day of recognition for the hourly employees. They spend the time to plan the event and ensure that everything will be ready for it, but then schedule it for a day that they won’t be working so that someone else now walks in with the responsibility of making the event come together. Although recognizing the hard work of your hourly team is important, it is also important to recognize that your fellow managers’ time is valuable and dropping something like this in their lap might throw their day into a tailspin.
If you’ve realized that you’ve done this in the past, as unintentionally we probably all have at some point, then here are few tips to help avoid situations like these. 1.) Before deciding to just “pass the buck,” ask if there is someone on your team who would like to partner on a project and share the responsibility with you. There might be someone on your team who has the extra time at the moment when you need the assistance and that solves the problem without creating a time crunch for someone who isn’t free to assist. 2.) Consider if something you are about to hand off could wait until a time when you are are able to handle the item yourself. You can also consult the rest of your team to see if there is a time when they are slower and could lend a hand by taking on the extra item. 3.) Ask yourself if this item can wait and be combined with another event that is already scheduled in the future when there is enough man power to support it. Sometimes combining offerings can make a larger event that is much more powerful.
All in all, the moral of this management tidbit is that taking the time to stop, think and ask could help you from becoming the “pass the buck” person on your management team. Trust me, your team will appreciate you being considerate of their time. In general, I’ve seen others make more of an effort to help when they know you are trying to do what is best for the team in getting your item accomplished. Taking the time to evaluate what will be beneficial to all involved will only make you a more valuable asset to any work group.