Management Bug: Overlapping Responsibilities

Eduardo Espinheira
2 min readOct 25, 2019

A MngtBug is a problem, cause or impact in a human manager’s decision which produces an incorrect or unexpected result. Every other week we share a little bit of our knowledge base on social media and our newsletter.

This week’s MngtBug is…

Have you ever seen this MngtBug? How did you solve it?
Share your story!


This week’s “Overlapping Responsibilities” is a very common problem independently of the size of the team and/or company.

By definition, overlapping responsibilities refers to a situation in which more than one individual is responsible for the same activity.
Only one person should be responsible for completing one activity. When 2 or more employees are unclear about who should do a job because of overlapping responsibility, it usually leads to conflict and poor working relationships. Often the Job does not get done because each employee assumes the other will do it. (Extracted and adapted from

Unclear roles and responsibilities can be stressful because:

  • Your team members don’t understand how they fit into the team, resulting in difficulty in finding “task significance”. Task significance is what helps people feel like their job makes a difference.
  • People waste time, doing work that they shouldn’t be or don’t want to be doing
  • Team members find it difficult to develop the required skills. Their jobs are not well defined, so it’s hard to tell what skills they need.

You probably know what your team members should be doing. However, you need to make sure that everybody is on the same page if they are going to have any job satisfaction. (Extracted and adapted from

Known Associates

This MngtBug has been mentioned in relation to a number of MngtFixes such as…

“Team Reorganization”,
“Job Descriptions Definition”,
“Delegation Poker Implementation”,
“Temporary Employee Rotation”,
“Process Ownership Definition”,
and of…



Eduardo Espinheira

Eduardo Espinheira is a Consultant, Facilitator, Manager, Public Speaker, Creator of the Management Bugs&Fixes and the Machiavellian PM Stories