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Mastering Delegation (‘have something done’ vs ‘have somebody do something)

Delegating tasks with 'have somebody do something' and 'have something done'

In our daily lives, we often need to delegate tasks or projects to others and understanding the difference between “having something done” and “having somebody do something” can be incredibly helpful in ensuring that these tasks are completed successfully.

Let’s say there’s a leaky faucet in your kitchen. Unless you have the necessary skills to fix it yourself, you will have to hire a plumber to come and fix the faucet for you. In this case, you will have the faucet fixed.

On the other hand, you might ask a friend who has experience fixing faucets to help you out. In this case, you’re delegating the task to someone else. In other words, you will have a friend fix the faucet.

Let’s take it to the workplace. Imagine you’re a project manager and you need to complete a complex project that requires a specialized skill set. You might hire an outside contractor who has the necessary expertise to complete the project for you. In this case, you’re not responsible for completing the project yourself, but the job is going to get done – you will have the project completed.

Say you decide to delegate the project to a team member who has the necessary skills, but you’re still responsible for the outcome. In this case, you’ll need to check in on their progress, provide guidance and support as needed, and ensure that the project is completed successfully. Again you won’t do it yourself, but rather have the team member lead the project.

When you “have something done” or “have somebody do something,” you’re essentially delegating a task or project to someone else. This can be either a paid service, such as hiring a contractor or plumber, or a favor, such as asking a friend or family member to help you out. In the first case you are focusing on the task to be carried out, while in the second, you are focusing on the person who is going to carry out the task.

Now try to use these two expressions to describe who helps you or assists you with your daily tasks and errands. Look at the examples:

  • I had a family emergency to attend to, so I had my team member Rachel take over my project for the week.
  • I had a busy schedule with back-to-back meetings, so I had my colleague Mark handle the client follow-up calls for me.
  • I had a personal commitment in the evening, so I had my coworker Tom attend the networking event on behalf of our company.

You can also describe what are the things that need to be done around the house. How often do you have your car washed? Or, when was the last time you had your walls painted?

Some more examples:

  • I had my roof repaired after the storm last week.
  • I had my carpets cleaned by a professional service last week.
  • I had my garage door repaired by a contractor last month.

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