Hi All,

I've loved the last few casts about deliverables, though the statement "don't leave without a deliverable" makes me a bit uneasy. My current line manager seems to dislike setting deliverables for all the usual reasons. More often than not he throws an unformed task to the team and expects someone to snatch it and do it. At the same time he issues more tasks than he expects to get done. He thinks tasks out loud and the team is supposed to evaluate and prioritize. It's a very organic system and has more-or-less worked.

Today he sent out a task that held the implication that one of the newer team members should pick it up. Inspired by the recent podcasts I sent out a helpful. "Is this task meant for XX or YY?" He responded with a genial paragraph about what everyone is generally working on and a "It makes sense for YY to look at this." While I know I'm not in danger for the one incident I realized that I'm falling dangerously close to the managing your manager trap. I feel that if I take the casual tasks he throws my direction and I re-propose them as deliverables it might eventually cause friction?

Is this a form of manager management? Where would the balance point be?

Many thanks to the MT community,


timrutter's picture

My reading of this from the information you provided is that weren't clear, sought clarification and received it. Would things work better if you had almost exactly this conversation wth your boss?

"You know that email about XX and YY last week? If I get anything like that from you in future, can I confirm actions and deliverables with you?"

Hopefully that will draw his expectations of you out and make things a little clearer. He may expect you to take action from what he has given you, he may be happy for you to clarify. If you have a good relationship already, a conversation like that stands a really good chance of strengthening it as you are looking to find ways to meet his needs.

Other opinions are welcome from the rest of the forum on this!


JeteyeMa's picture

Hi Tim,

Thank you for the reply. You are right that I know the relationship best and I should be able to bring it up directly with my line manager.

Asking for deliverables still feels suspiciously like asking for one-on-ones or other managerial behaviour changes, even if it is on a case by case basis. There have been a couple dropped balls recently where the balls were never clearly passed. No heads have rolled, but it's hard watching something go wrong.

Thanks again for your reply,