Managing down – Scripts and mindset in delegating and asking for help.

People are hardwired to want to do things on their own and be independent-minded,

Asking for help often makes people feel uneasy because it requires surrendering control to someone else. We don’t want to be ashamed of our situation, or come across as incompetent, so we work really hard to make sure people don’t see us this way.


The last time we have discussed managing up. Now we’ll look at delegating and asking for help.

Asking for help doesn’t come easily for many people. Knowing how to navigate this in work setting can be tricky as you want to maintain positive relationships with people you work with.

Below I share some phrases that has helped me in delegating, asking for help, and following up on tasks. Delegating is part of the skill-set of managing down, but knowing how to delegate it is equally useful even when you don’t manage any team. You can use these to ask for help from colleagues and members of other teams ( managing sideways?? 🙂 ).

Making requests

  • Hi @team Happy Friday! Can I please have a jpeg version of our logo mailed to me?
  • Let me know if you’d want to help us figure that out a bit more
  • Can I ask you to record this please – I feel it will be highly beneficial to share!
  • Hi X, firstly, Thank you for doing the initial dive here – But we would like to go further and assess our options
  • X – would you mind assisting with technical side of it – provide specifications for the resources we need.
  • I appreciate there are other priorities on your plate – if you could give me a estimate timeline that would be great.
  • X, could you provide a timeline here before EOD today please for the [task item] thanks
  • A more subtle way of asking someone to do something: “you forgot to take the last picture”
  • on another note @team – take a read of this when you get a moment
  • Team – I’m looking to join some calls tomorrow…. schedule me in. Add to my calendar please.
  • Folks – last day of the month. Lets do a bit of cleanup!
  • That would be an ask from me please

Following up / making sure things are moving along

  • Hi :wave: @x_team – can someone take care of this today for me please
  • Time is of the essence so if anyone needs help, is encountering a roadblock, or just wants extra eyes on this, please escalate to x, y, or myself.
  • Hello @team, can we have a follow up on this [ticket link]? I’m available to provide any details you might require
  • Just a reminder that if you are on a team in [CRM] can you please keep an eye on it? There are quite a few conversations that are not being replied to. If you are unsure how to answer send it to [contact person]. Thanks.
  • Hi gents – are we close on this? Looking to connect again with [customer]. When do you think we’ll have all the pieces ready?
  • 3PM PST next Wed – we all ok to present our findings to [customer’s PIC] and team?
  • Hi team, can I ask you to treat this as a priority?
  • Hey @team i know there is always a lot going on your side. Yesterday night I opened this [ticket link] which i believe could require no more than 10 minutes on your side and would really make a difference for a project we’re kicking-off tomorrow. Thanks in advance!
  • To keep everyone working towards the same goal, when can we expect the feasibility and price estimate to be completed? Can we aim for tomorrow morning (Pacific Time)? I’d like to kick off this collection by early next week.

Giving tasks

  • Hi x, I need you to do the presentation in two weeks to the board about all of our widgets. Here’s a one-pager with the critical elements the presentation must include. Also, if it were me doing this report, I would make sure to do X, Y, and Z — but that’s my preference. I’m telling this to you to give you a model, and I want you to approach it how you think is best. Please turn in a draft of the presentation to me in one week, so we can review it together, I can give you feedback and make sure it meets my expectations, and you’ll have one more week to make tweaks and practice.

After giving task

  • Just so we know we’re on the same page, could you play back what I’m asking of you?
  • Please offer a sign that you have received this message.
  • You are really good at that so I trust your judgement on it

Setting context and expectations before a meeting

  • For this afternoon’s team call, please all be sure you are in attendance for the full hour. We are in relatively urgent need of a full pipeline review. For the call, given other discussions this week, I will be expecting to see a clean and accurate pipeline from all – from pipeline stage through to commit. Also, if there are opps you want to keep in your pipeline but have near zero probability of closing, please put probability to 0%. I have edited our report to filter these out as per our discussion a few weeks back. Talk then!
  • It would be nice if we could start recording calls for training purposes. Can I ask that we start doing this please? It’s easily facilitated by Zoom. It’s just required that we ask the customer their permission. I.e. “do you mind if I record this call. It’s for training purposes.”. Thanks!
  • Team, could you complete your [CRM cleanup / actions]? All I need is a sentence for context to show why the deal slipped through. It’s to help prompt further investigation. Please prioritise and complete in the next 24hrs. Thanks.
  • As most of you re aware, I’ve been working on a relaunch of our team page on [knowledge management tool]. It’s still a WIP, however one of the things I would like us to do is introduce a deep-dive section into our weekly meet-up where we talk through deal losses and wins. I’d like to get a view on the deals we handled in May so have created the following page here [link]
  • TEAM!!! I need your help – as does [another stakeholder]. We need a handful of prospects to interview for the web redesign. For those of you who don’t know, our marketing team are leading a complete redesign of our customer facing digital storefront. To best think through the design elements, UX and UI, our agency have asked for both customers and prospects to interview. We have the customers (who are already buying from us covered), but we need to fill the gap of prospects. I know it’s a little difficult to ask people who have yet to purchase to sit through an interview, however we are donating some money to charity for their time! Can everyone think of a SINGLE prospect who you would put on top of your own personal list for a reach-out? Homework due date: TODAY!

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