How to Delegate: How to Start Delegating Work To Your Assistant

how to delegateLadies: let’s talk about the art of delegating work to your secretary, assistant, or another third party. More and more I feel like knowing how to delegate is key to success in work and life — you can’t micromanage everything. Besides, if you bill by the hour, remember that your client doesn’t want to pay, say, $500 an hour for someone to photocopy something! So: what tasks do you delegate? How did you learn how to delegate, and what are your best tips for women thinking about what they should assign to others? (Previously: we’ve talked about how to show your appreciation to a great assistant, and when to fire a bad assistant, as well as apps like Fiverr that let you delegate some things to third parties.)

For my $.02, for working women with an assistant, I’d seriously look at delegating tasks like:

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When Your Boss Won’t Delegate

When your boss won’t delegate, how can you move to the next step? But how can you grow your own skills when working with this person? When I got this question from Reader E a while ago, I knew just the woman to ask: Jodi Glickman, the author of Great on the Job: What to Say, How to Say It. The Secrets of Getting Ahead. (both book and blog), and a fellow Northwestern alumna. I hope you all enjoy her guest post today! – Kat

Multiple Choice, originally uploaded to Flickr by CoreForceHere’s Reader E’s question:

Can you do a feature on how to deal with a boss that is not good at delegating work, does not “have the time to teach” and believes it is easier to handle the matter herself, has issues letting go of important matters or bringing in the associates to work on such matters and etc. when one has been at the firm already for a good amount of time? Would love to hear the feedback you and the readers have other than the obvious answer of switching firms.

The reason your boss won’t (or can’t delegate) is that she’s too busy to think about putting you to work and she’s convinced it will take more time to get you up to speed than to do the work herself.  So, you’ve got to prove her wrong by showing that you can indeed add value and that you bring real skills to the table. (Multiple Choice, originally uploaded to Flickr by CoreForce.) [Read more…]

Delegating: Using Your Assistant Well

delegating to your assistant2016 Update: We still stand by these tips on delegating to your assistant — but you may also want to check out our latest discussion on how to delegate!

Reader E wonders what you can and should ask your assistant or secretary to do — and what is off limits. Great question!

I have been fortunate and I find myself a busy exec at a consulting firm at a young age. I am working 60-80 hours a week and just learning how to leverage my assistant. She is helping me with my expenses and time entry, but I suspect she and I could both get more out of the relationship. I’ve grown up in a world where I can do almost everything myself (like book travel) but I’m struggling to manage my work/life balance. I could use help with just about anything but as I dive into the world of asking for help, I don’t want to find myself at the other end of the spectrum where I’m asking too much or being inappropriate. Advice that outlines do and do not categories or mentions creative ideas might be most helpful.

Congrats to be a busy exec, and a special congrats on getting what sounds like a competent and helpful assistant — they can be hard to come by, so treat him or her like gold! (And apologies in advance for every time I say “her” meaning the assistant — in addition to being Reader E’s situation, it’s easier to type than “him or her” every time!)  (Pictured:  Screencap from Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead.  We’re right on top of it, Rose!) Oh, and PSA: Don’t forget that tomorrow is Administrative Assistant’s Day. Check out our poll on what to get your assistant.)

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