The statement a mentor shared with me … “If price is a question then the value hasn’t been made clear.” is so valuable.

It is so helpful for leaders and managers because if you get push back when setting up a delegation of work, seeking collaboration on a project, then you may not have been clear with why it would be of value for the person to participate. You know it, you’ve heard it before, it’s the WIIFT – WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM! 

During a recent presentation, an audience member said that they are dealing with team members who are already at capacity so it’s challenging to ask any of the team to take on anything else.

I agree, it’s a challenge, it’s a double-edge sword situation:

  • you want your team to have enough work to be fully engaged, AND
  • you don’t want your team to be constantly overloaded that they burn out!

When I was a senior project officer, my boss was a serial drive-by delegator, dumping task after task, project after project on my desk… not unlike Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) in the movie The Devil Wears Prada!

I simply added each task and project to my never ending ToDo List. Each week at our catch up meetings, she would want to know where everything was at and I would do my best to run through the list. She was never satisfied because I would mention as many of the tasks and projects as I could and the progress was never good enough. I had no clue as to what was more important and what needed the most focus. She was frustrated with me, and I was burning out … fast!

The problem was that neither of us thought to stop and check the relevance of each task and project. Neither of us asked, “what is the most important piece(s) of work to focus on right now”. Neither of us stopped and re-prioritised what needed the greatest focus.

Had we looked at our department’s current strategic plan, the overall vision and mission, and then cross-referenced each project and task we would have easily seen what could have been:

  1. deleted
  2. delayed
  3. delegated to another
  4. dealt with now

I can only imagine how that would have saved so much time, angst,  wellbeing and the relationship!


Over to you:

  1. Are you a drive-by delegator? (I’m sure you’re not.) If you are delegating task after task without following up or checking that previously delegated work has been done and dealt with, then it’s time to check that you’re not inadvertently creating an unprioritised never ending ToDo List for your team member(s).
  2. When was the last time you asked your team how they are prioritising their work?
  3. When was the last time discussed the value, type and priority of the work in relation to the current priorities of the organisation?

Imagine how good it would feel if you knew the work on your ToDo List was the most important, valuable work that you are to focus on and all other tasks, requests and projects, while still important, are in the right priority order.

How would that feel?

I appreciate you