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Author Topic: Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?  (Read 10468 times)

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Re: Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?
« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2014, 09:50:23 AM »
Jaime, thanks for having Mary pull the parts for me the other day, but in the future I'd prefer to pull my own.  It's easier that way, because I'm very particular about how I want my carts to be set up.  It will just save everybody time and frustration in the long run.

Really, I'd leave specifics out of it.  There could always be a second conversation about how she refused to listen to your instructions at a later time, or if he asks you just why you don't want her to help.

I'll pod this.

The problem is that you like things done your way, and you're fast that way. The problem isn't that she fooled around, or didn't do her job, or didn't do it properly, it's just that she didn't do it like you would have done.
Don't get her fired or reprimanded because she can't read your mind and doesn't know how the widgets go together. Telling someone to never delegate that job to her makes her seem incompetent. That doesn't mean that you can't suggest more training, or having her accompany you next time you go widget part gathering so you can explain how you like things and the most efficient way to get them.


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Re: Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?
« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2014, 10:37:48 AM »
I'd go with pros/cons suggestions feedback:

Mary followed Jamie's instructions exactly.
She seems to have spent time figuring things out and self-correcting her errors(?)

Her inexperience led to inefficiencies down the line.
As she was working 'under' you for this task, she needs to understand that it is OK to take direction from you.

When delegating a task to Mary, Jamie should make it clear who is the 'leader' of the task (and therefore, who can change the rules).
Mary (or anyone else) pulling parts for widgets for OP should also learn how to organize them properly for OP, or the 'help' just isn't helpful.

I think this is more about the situation than it is about Mary. She got stuck in a bad place, having to figure out a new-to-her role, having to choose between adhering to her supervisor's instructions vs someone else's supervisor, and she probably had no idea how to organize the parts to suit the OP's work style.

Feedback like that can help Jamie work with Mary to get her training up to par.

I'm currently facing a similar situation: I'll be getting help on a project from *someone*. I outlined what they would have to do, and what expertise I wanted them to have. The uber-boss' suggestion was someone quite new, and lacking the expertise. I decided I was actually OK with it-- the project will take more of my time than I had hoped because I have to explain more, but I'm viewing it as an investment that will make this new person more valuable to me for help in the future. That type of investment has paid off well in the past.


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Re: Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?
« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2014, 11:21:18 AM »
It sounds like more of a problem with Jaime than with Mary, although since she was pulling the items for you, she should have asked for clarification of your personal system/habit.

You should probably clarify with Jaime "Hey, I appreciate the help! Next time we need to pull items for widget, either I can pull them or you can show Mary how to pull them. There was some confusion on the flanges, but she was just following what the book said. It took somewhat longer to organize, so if you want her to continue pulling these items, can you make sure on my carts we have x, y and z and we can wait on the flanges?"

Jaime needs to know where the breakdown is, and as he is the supervisor he needs to solve it.


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Re: Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?
« Reply #18 on: September 02, 2014, 11:35:48 AM »
Sounds like Mary needs to shadow you as you pull items and take notes. Tell her to ignore the book for now.  She will then learn to do it your way.


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Re: Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?
« Reply #19 on: September 02, 2014, 12:21:35 PM »
There are several things in operation here.

First, Jamie should have said "... and talk to GreenEyedHawk about how she wants the parts picked. The 'book' is a good place to start, but she has her preferences on this." (Are they pickled parts that are being picked?) In other words, he should have explicitly delegated the authority for this task to you (after checking with you), since the task was being done for you.

Second, when Mary got conflicting instructions from you and Jamie, she should have gone to clarify them, not dismiss you. That's verging on insubordination and is not a good trait for a new worker. "I was just following orders" is not a great defense.

Third, I feel your pain. We've got a lot of new workers who are less than competent and are very slow to learn. I'm very over loaded. I should be able to delegate to them, but it hurts because: 1) I'm about 5 times as fast as they are, even on a bad day; and 2) Delegating to them increases my workload because I have to coach them. And coach them a lot. I have to consciously make the effort to delegate, and to heck with the schedule. The only way to make management aware that these people aren't competent is to stop covering for them. Unfortunately, that has an impact on our customers and I hate, hate, hate that.
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Re: Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?
« Reply #20 on: September 02, 2014, 02:05:27 PM »
Pod to Mergatroyd. I think Mary as a new person was trying to follow her boss' orders. Maybe ask him next time to specifically give you detail authority, or to work together to create a common process/training.

I see a big problem with the overall process.

The book should have a clear parts list in one location or a checklist for pickers (perhaps even an erasable/reusable one). There shouldn't be any danger of losing one's place while using this list!

On our assembly line, the build carts have templates on them so that the same part goes in the same spot every time. They have done efficiency studies to make sure this is the "right" place. You could do the same for your carts (add labels that are easy enough to read that anyone could intuitively set up your cart for you). I believe the templates can be moved from one cart to another fairly easily, but in general each cart is exclusive for that stage of that assembly, so doesn't get moved much.

From this and other posts, it sounds like business is going well for your company and you may be needing more help in the future. Take this time (and I feel it is your responsibility as a supervisor) while things aren't too crazy to help others help you, by setting up working processes that are as people-independant as possible.


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Re: Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?
« Reply #21 on: September 02, 2014, 02:15:39 PM »
Could you make up a sheet that shows how exactly the parts would go on your cart with part numbers and such?   

You could put where to find the parts in the warehouse and then where they go on your cart and when.  ex. 1st round and 2nd round. 

Something visual to help any employee load your cart or carts.

But, I think you do need to talk with Jamie and no matter what, I don't like the way Mary treated you, a superior to her.  There is no way I would accept her "no" or ignoring your advice.   Jamie needs to know that she did this, whether or not you are her supervisor. 


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Re: Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?
« Reply #22 on: September 02, 2014, 02:51:08 PM »
So Mary is new and is trying to learn her new job and is being given conflicting information from her supervisor and from another person. I feel pretty bad for her. Instead of being down on Mary, you should be talking to Jamie about clarifying the process for her so she learns how to do it correctly in the future, including listening to you when you say you want it done a certain way.

We were all new at our jobs once. It takes time to learn. Mary may well turn out to be a wonderful shop hand once she is fully trained.


Honestly, greeneyedhawk, I think you're being a little bit unreasonable here.  Everyone starts somewhere and we're never perfect at a job the first time we do it.  Instead of trying to get her in trouble with her boss and preventing her from pulling stuff for your work orders, why not talk to Jaime and volunteer to have her shadow you while you pick parts so that she gets a handle on how you want the process done?  That way she learns how you want it done.  It's not necessarily that she's doing it wrong from the sounds of it either, she's just not doing it the way that you want. 

And to be honest?  If I was new at a job and my boss told me how to do something one way and another person told me to do it another way I'd listen to my boss regardless of what that other person said until I could get confirmation from my boss.  Sorry, but I'm not potentially getting in trouble with my boss just because you say it's okay.   


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Re: Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?
« Reply #23 on: September 02, 2014, 03:16:34 PM »
The one thing that came to mind was that a left handed widget assembler might have a different way of arranging their cart as compared to a right handed widget assembler or an ambidextrous widget assembler putting together the same widget.

Now, if the widget itself comes in left handed or right handed versions - that might further complicate things...but I'm going to assume that the widgets are perfectly symmetrical and it makes no difference once it has been assembled how it was put together, as long as the thing fits in the shipping container.
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Re: Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?
« Reply #24 on: September 02, 2014, 05:23:15 PM »
OP didn't say Mary was new, just that she had never built this widget. OP also wasn't telling Mary to do something against the rules or something sneaky; she told her how they streamline the process usually.  To not listen to that advice seems kind of stupid, IMO, because it is willfully making the process more difficult. The OP is also a supervisor and 1 of only 2 people who make this widget; if you can't trust her word on how they usually did it, who can you trust?

The OP also says that she doesn't want Mary reprimanded or in any such trouble, she just wasn't Jamie to not let Mary help her because it's more time efficient to do it herself. I don't think that's unreasonable at all.

OP, I would just tell Jamie it is easier for you to do it yourself and you appreciate the thought of him trying to help but you'd rather just do it yourself. Make it about your preference, not about Mary's performance.

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Re: Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?
« Reply #25 on: September 02, 2014, 05:31:14 PM »
This is a systems issue, not a worker issue.  Is it the job of the widget builder (OP) to pull their own parts, or is the job of the hand (Mary) to pull parts?


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Re: Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?
« Reply #26 on: September 02, 2014, 06:09:35 PM »
Can the carts be labeled somehow, marked off with masking tape, perhaps, and Mary be instructed to put part#1 in the space marked #1, etc? Perhaps instead of a book, a short list of only the needed parts could be given, split into two parts if necessary, for parts that are not needed on the first round. This may simplify things and make it easier for Mary to do the job more efficiently and for the parts to be where GreenEyedHawk needs them on the carts to make assembly easier for her.

List 1                                   List 2

Part #1                                Part #7
Part #2                                Part #8
Part #3                                Part #9
Part #4                               
Part #5   
Part #6

        Cart #1                     Cart #2
  |  1  |  2  |  3  |          |  7    |  8    |  9   |
  |  4  |  5  |  6  |         


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Re: Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?
« Reply #27 on: September 02, 2014, 07:36:02 PM »
It's worth mentioning that Mary is not new.  I should have been more specific.  Normally she doesn't build, but she is familiar with the parts and since my workbench is right in front of her and I've built hundreds of the gall-durn things (I'm getting tired of them, can you tell?)  she's seen me retrieve the flanges from the crates at the end of each build. She's also seen Jamie do the same.  She is familiar with the parts, she's just never gone through the process.  She's not a builder.  Jamie just snagged her to help because she was probably the first person he saw.  He's like that sometimes.

How the cart is arranged well...I kind of feel like that's more of an annoyance than a real issue.  Like I said, I think that if you want something done as specifically as I like my carts to be arranged, you should just do it yourself.  And pulling parts isn't part of her job, either, so it's not like she's an incompetent or anything.  She got shoved into a new situation and even though I understand Jamie "loaning" her to me from his crew to help out well...let's just say if I had to choose someone to delegate a job like that to from his crew, it wouldn't be her.  She's all right at her actual job.  I don't blame her or have any animosity toward her (though I'm annoyed she didn't listen to me) I just would rather he didn't delegate this particular job to her, because her inexperience makes her inefficient; and it's not likely that it'd be worth training her, as she probably will never become involved in building.

There's not much point in marking spaces on the carts; most of the parts are small and go in a  multi-compartment tray (again, I like my tray organised in a specific way, because it's most efficient) and I am also familiar enough with where all the parts are located that I pick my parts in a certain order so I'm filling the cart, then the tray, back-to-front.  Everything is pre-organised that way.  Plus, once a cart is empty, someone else who needs it may very well walk off with it and then when I need it again, I'll just go retrieve whichever one is available.  We'd have to mark out all of them.

The book is very clear.   The page that shows the widget lists the parts for that widget only.  It's one page, with list of parts, numbers and quantities.  It's pretty much exactly the list I would make if I were writing it down for someone, minus the drawing and build specifics.

Going to a bunch of time  and trouble to train Mary to pull parts is, IMO, a giant waste of time.  It's actually not her job (which is why I don't really want her to be in any trouble.  I don't think it's right to blame someone or give them a hard time for not doing the best job at something they've never done) and really all I want is for Jamie to not delegate that job to her again.  It's just faster and easier if I do it myself.

Mostly I just didn't really want to be too blunt and say something like, "Jamie, please don't get Mary to pull parts for me anymore...she sucks at it." 

There's been a lot of really good diplomatic phrasing suggested here.  Like I said before, I don't want her to be reprimanded or anything; that seems unfair.  I just don't want her to be given that task anymore.  I appreciate Jamie wanted to help me out, but in the end it just made more work for me, and with the orders high as they are, I don't have even five minutes in a day to waste. The only person at the shop as much as me is Bossman; I show up an hour before everyone else and I leave an hour after everyone else just to try and keep up with the production schedule, just to give you all an idea of what i mean by "busy".  Unfortunately training another person to build the widgets that I do isn't possible just now; neither Jamie nor I really have time, and we just kind of went on a hiring blitz.  It was slow for awhile so we were down to skeleton crew but when things really started picking up again (and are showing no signs of slowing) so aside from me, Jamie, Mary, Gary and Bossman's son Joel (all of whom are plenty busy themselves) almost everyone is new and these widgets are very specific and precise...that's the reason only Jamie and I build them....we're the only ones with enough experience.
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Re: Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?
« Reply #28 on: September 02, 2014, 08:21:03 PM »
Jaime is Mary's boss and ultimately she reports to him.  I don't blame her for following her boss' instructions. 

The problem is not with Mary, it's with Jaime.  You can either tell Jaime, straight up, "don't delegate that task to Mary" or you can tell him that she needs to defer to your instructions on how to pull jobs.  But I don't think it's fair to get upset with Mary for following instructions given to her by her boss.

I would actually disagree with this.  Jamie gave her the original instructions, but Mary was doing the task for Pastry Goddess--who is also a supervisor, and was offering common sense information about the tasks.  Mary should have followed those instructions.

If I am working with a support person from another team who is assigned to help me, and who says, my boss has me do X task in Y manner, I expect them to comply when I say, fine, but I want it done in Z manner.  It is my project, and that is what counts. 

I think it is fine to describe what happened to Jamie and to say, you should first, explain to Mary that there are some practical aspects that are not covered by the manual that are learned from experience, and second, it is important to be open to instructions from others in the company with seniority and experience.  If Mary thought there was a problem, she could have sought clarification from Jamie rather than perform the task in a way that was not helpful. 

I'm not the OP :)  and I don't disagree with what others are saying in how to bring it up with Jaime. 

Oops!  Sorry! 


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Re: Polite way of saying "Please don't delegate that job to her"?
« Reply #29 on: September 03, 2014, 12:18:59 AM »
Instead of approaching it as a "them" problem, approach it as a "me" problem.

"Jaime, I know you are trying to help any way you can since you are unable to build widgets right now but, I am pretty OCD about setting up my cart a certain way, and it really throws me off when you have someone else do it instead. It actually saves me time and makes things go faster when I can do it myself."

 If you have no issues with the way Mary normally does her assigned tasks, it's probably not worth mentioning her ignoring you this one time. If it's a pattern then it might warrant a talk with him at a separate time.