Most people believe the delegation is a one-way street, moving downward from upper managers to the lowest-level employees.
While that might be the case most of the time, there are times when delegating works upwards as well.
“Sometimes employees need to delegate upward, for instance when there is a need for capital or human resources, when expert knowledge is required, or when there are political barriers to be overcome,” explains a source.
When asking your own superior to do something, follow these tips:
There is a big difference between delegating work to your employees, or delegating work to your own boss.
You can be direct and assertive with your team members, but you need to be much more respectful when asking your superior to do something.
Using words and phrases such as “please,” “can you,” and “I would really appreciate it if you could” are advantageous to let your boss know that you need them to do something, but you respect them enough to ask rather than demand.
You need to remember that your boss, as an upper manager, is swamped.
Between overseeing multiple departments and dealing with partners and clients, it is not uncommon for an urgent request to lay on a boss’s desks for weeks at a time without any response.
Whether you’re communicating directly with your superior, or going through their assistant, it is beneficial to include a deadline so that your boss knows when something is a priority.
Otherwise, they may just leave it for a later time, which will not come anytime soon.
If you need to delegate work up because you need a manager’s expertise or simply don’t have time to do it yourself, you need to provide details as to why you are asking your boss to step in.
Remember that people do like to feel needed, so writing a simple email or explaining that you are working on projects with urgent deadlines, can make it easy to explain why I need the extra help.
Make sure that the reasons for delegating upwards are legitimate, lest you appear incompetent or simply lazy to your boss.
Some employees work with their superiors on a regular basis, as they’re the ones that see a need when something needs a managerial eye.
Just as you would with your own team, you shouldn’t shy away from providing feedback to your manager if something needs to be done differently or was done incorrectly in the first place.
Still being respectful, point out what needs to be done differently in the future, or you will just have to spend your own time making the changes again and again.
Head of Training and Development
Originally published: 10 October, 2017