Free Subscription

  • Access 15 free news articles each month


Try one month for $5
  • Unlimited access to news,insights and opinions
  • Quarterly and weekly magazines
  • Independent research reports and forecasts
  • Quarterly webinars with industry experts
  • Q&A with retail leaders
  • Career advice
  • Exclusive Masterclass access. Part of Retail Week 2021

How not to delegate

business strategy business peoplePeter stands at the photocopier waiting for Stan to finish what he is copying. They are both on the same staff level within the organisation. Out of the corner of his eye Peter sees that Stan is copying exactly what he is about to copy. Somewhat miffed, he walks straight into Ted’s office. Ted is the boss – a weak individual but nevertheless the boss. Peter confronts Ted and asks him why Stan is doing the same job as he is doing. Ted ducks for cover and rambles on about belts and braces. Peter dumps the paperwork on Ted’s desk and tells him that Ted either gives him a job to do and trusts him to do it or otherwise he can shove his job where the sun don’t shine.

Sound familiar?

The dust settles and Ted gives Peter another job to do and assures him that this is only being given to him. Nobody else. Peter gets stuck in and is getting along just fine when Stan appears and asks him what he is doing. Peter tells him and half an hour later Ted calls Peter into his office and comments on some small issues. Peter asks Ted where he obtained his information and Ted – red faced mutters away. Peter strolls over to Stan who tells him that Ted asked him to check up on Peter.

Sound familiar?  Hope not.

Now Ted goes away for a week. When he returns he asks some junior members of staff how things went in his absence. He is dismayed to hear that Peter and Stan have not been performing – at least in the eyes of the juniors who aspire to Peter and Stan’s jobs. Ted calls in Stan and Peter and tells them that he has heard that things didn’t go too well while he was away.

Peter takes a swing at Ted but Stan intervenes and physical contact is narrowly avoided. Peter and Stan walk out never to be seen again. Ted explains to his boss that he had to let both of them go because they were incompetent. Ted’s boss is impressed and Ted gets a promotion soon after.

Frightening stuff, but modified only slightly from real life examples.

Lesson learnt?  If you want to get promotion don’t empower your staff. Double guess them until they are so frustrated that they leave. Micro manage them and do most of the work yourself because you can’t trust anyone else anyway. And make decisions daily but change the decisions the following day. Motto – “keep the bastards guessing”.

Stuart Bennie is a retail consultant at Impact Retailing and can be contacted at or 0414 631 702

You have 7 free articles.