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Manager gives same task to multiple people

My executive has an awful habit of asking several different people in his department to do the same thing....this causes lots of confusion, re-work, double duty, etc. How can I get him to stop doing this without being too confrontational. He's a C-Level Executive.

Submitted by: Nikki


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You've not indicated how long you've worked for your executive. If you have worked with him for a while, then I would guess you've built enough of a rapport to sit down with him and have a focused discussion regarding this matter. A few things come to mind as I think about your situation. As others who have posted have indicated, your exec could just be disorganized and he throws the job/assignment to as many people as he can with the hope that someone out of that group will provide him what he is looking for. Another thing that comes to mind is that he might be looking for several different approaches to the assignment with the plan to have all of them compiled into one final result. Finally, if your relationship with your exec is a comfortable one where you are not afraid to express your opinion and he will in turn listen to what you have to say, I would suggest that you volunteer to be project manager for his delegated assignments. In that role, you could have a short meeting with everyone he has assigned his project/request to, discuss it amongst the group, then take that input back and you will be the one who creates the final result to present to him for his review. Make sure you indicate somewhere on that document, everyone who was involved in the input/data supply/recommendations so your exec knows that everyone he spoke to was involved. If this works and your exec likes the results, it will become a more sublime part of your position and you'll have your exec's appreciation for you taking a proactive step that makes him look very organized and makes more efficient use of his staff's time; this could lead to a promotion and/or possible salary increase. It also will help you build solid relationships with the other staff you work with on these assignments. Good luck! I hope you find a way to make everyone happy. Kelly Dodson on 9/19/2014 12:06:19 PM
My suggestion: When he assigns you the task ask for clarity if you are the only one working on the project/assignment. If not, then bring to his attention how confusing and frustrating this could be for all involved along with the drawbacks of delays in getting the assigned task completed. Not to mention the time that is wasted by several employees doing the same task. Anonymous on 9/19/2014 9:35:12 AM
He likely forgets who he has told to do what. This is sign of a disorganized individual. I think I might try to meet with him and bring it to his attention. Any good Executive would be concerned for the cost of such habit. Maybe just communicate that while you understand he has a lot going on, you all need to problem solve to find a solution or system where he can keep track of the tasks he delegates out. Maybe keep a list of delegated jobs with a name next to them or give them all to one person to then delegate out. Tie it to the money it is costs for several employees to be working on the same task so he realizes that it more than just an annoyance Kelly Dockter on 9/19/2014 9:22:18 AM
I have had that situation in the past, and how I handled it was, I use to ask "am I the only one you have asked to handle this assignment?" That worked because he was able to see that he was not helping the team properly time manage. The other thing I thought about doing is sending out an email asking if anyone else was working on the same project. Hope this was helpful. Irene Hatchett on 9/19/2014 9:17:13 AM

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