In Short: Having any structure for assigning tasks is like herding sheep but is worth setting up to bring more calm to your company. The golden rule? “Show the empathy to deliver tasks in the format that mainly suits them and partially suits you”.
There are variable power and role dynamics in all organisations but most people are clear on who can give them tasks and to whom they can assign tasks to do. The issue is in how tasks are delivered. Let’s step to the side and look at the analogy of sending someone a message with an image. Your mind thinks of all the options for how to contact someone and narrows down the options to email. It will generally avoid the spam folder & get to them, they can read the message when they want and it is unlikely to disappear. You wouldn’t write the message in chalk outside their house (even if you were a chalk artist) or write a message in the sky (even if you were a skywriter), you show the empathy to deliver the message in the format that mainly suits them and partially suits you.
Considering the above example when thinking about tasks, in modern workplaces, tasks are communicated through video meetings verbally, in-person meetings verbally, via chat apps, via email, via CRMs, via project management software, via task management software, via text etc. If we think alter the above quote, it becomes “show the empathy to deliver tasks in the format that mainly suits them and partially suits you”.
Some empathetic ways to give people tasks:
- Adding the task to their task manager with a due date or label for urgency, with attachments, with instructions and with links to any program they might need to use
- During a meeting, writing the tasks down for the person who will do the work (and letting them know at the start of the meeting that you are writing them down and will email the tasks to them) and sending to them in bullet-point format
- Setting rules in your company that you don’t assign tasks via chat channels or text messages as the UX of these channels means they can easily get lost unless left unread
- Consider having open task channels for teams so people can rearrange their tasks, assign to each other, pick up more tasks when they have capacity etc
- If using CRM or project management software, assign the task and attach to the client’s details so the person doing the task is dropped in-context when opening the task