Email Tips: Delegating to Another’s Employee

Effective Delegation

Here are six guidelines to delegate work to an employee who does not directly report to you. These guidelines are applicable even when you delegate to one of your employees’ employees.

  • When requesting a routine work from an employee, copy her boss as a courtesy. Such requests must be components of the employee’s work plan or previously agreed to by her boss.
  • When delegating special or time-consuming work to an employee, first write to her boss and request for the employee’s time. Do not go around the boss.
  • Provide all the necessary inputs and describe what you expect, and how and when you expect results. Be specific. Ask for timely updates.
  • If you have not gotten a response to an earlier delegation email, call or visit the person. Confirm that the employee understands your expectations. Ask for a status update.
  • Do not “copy up” (copy the boss or, worse, HR) as a means of coercion. Work with the employee directly to resolve problems before elevating your concerns to her boss.
  • Avoid prolonged debates or arguments over email. Problems are often easier to defuse using a more personal means of interaction. If you have difficulty in saying something via email, pick up the phone or walk up to the other and talk to her.

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