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Dear Boss: Do you know HOW and


WHEN to cover for someone?


If you’re reading this, my guess is the odds are you find it reassuring to hear that someone’s “got your back!” But let’s get real. That expression means a lot in life-or-death and potentially hazardous situations – no doubt about it! Thankfully, however, most of us are not putting our lives on the line every day as in police, fire and military combat.

So having someone “cover your back” is hardly of value in day-to-day business or family life. For most of us, reality dictates that no one else can really protect your interests except you!

If you want to make sure a job gets done that you are responsible for, either do it yourself or monitor progress to make sure the person you asked to do it, does it! Remember, we can delegate authority to get things done, but we cannot delegate responsibility for getting things done.

Does every assignment or request have to be a leap of faith? No, but until those involved have proven consistently that they can act responsibly, it’s a leap of faith, and how much of a leap depends on the sense of balance, trust, and intuition we practice. And there is no excuse for not checking up, following up, soliciting feedback.

Corporate accountability procedures make delegation slightly easier and more comfortable feeling than handing off tasks tends to be for entrepreneurs and in many family settings . . . and especially in family businesses. Q: When does a delegator step in and take charge, take back, or take over? A: When ultimate responsibility is on the line.

Oh, and not doing something the same way the delegator does something is not grounds for divorce, separation, or interference. In fact, the best leaders are those who see departures from their personal methods and techniques as opportunities to learn – possibly a better way to do something, or gain better input necessary to teach a better way.

But be careful here. “Better” is subjective. “Better” is not always quicker, or more thorough, or more efficient. THIS is one place where knowing when and when not to exercise leadership judgment comes into play.


1) Be observant – Keep things safe!

2) Withhold judgment pending seeing the results, but don’t hesitate to step in if you see evidence of physical, emotional or customer service hazard around the corner.

3) Suggest changes in process carefully and specifically – Criticize behavior or method or technique, NOT THE PERSON – Criticize in private and praise in public!

4) Don’t give a “Got your back!” attitude to someone else. Simply teach by example.  

5) Remember whose ultimate responsibility is on the line!

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Hal@Businessworks.US   302.933.0911

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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