After you delegate work to an employee, he or she replies with “I’m too busy to do that,” and insists that someone else take on the work. What do you do? Follow these steps:
Don’t allow excuses. If you are quick to say “OK, I’ll find someone else to do it,” people will continue to use—and abuse—the excuse.
Assess their workloads. Perhaps they’re just overwhelmed. Sit down with them to go over all their assignments and the time they’re spending on them. You may discover they have too much on their plate—or you may learn they are wasting time. If it is the former, extend deadlines, eliminate tasks and park assignments as needed to make the workload reasonable.
Help them prioritize. Every assignment can’t be a top priority. When employees say they are too busy, ask them to pull out their to-do list and help them prioritize it so that they can squeeze in new assignments.
— Adapted from “When an Employee Says ‘I’m Too Busy,’” Kevin Eikenberry, Bud to Boss Blog, www.budtoboss.com.