12 Words for Passing Responsibility on to Someone Else

Are you trying to figure out the most professional phrases for distributing responsibility?

Perhaps you’re worried about coming across as too blunt or demanding with simple terms.

Fear not! As we’re here to help.

This article has gathered the best words for passing responsibility on to someone else:

  • Delegate
  • Assign
  • Attribute
  • Cede
  • Entrust
  • Shift
  • Outsource
  • Reassign
  • Offload
  • Divert
  • Surrender
  • Palm off

Keep reading to learn how to pass the responsibility to someone else when necessary. We’ve also provided examples under each heading to help you.

1. Delegate

When you delegate a task, it means you pass it on to someone else. Therefore, it’s a great formal synonym to include in an email.

It shows you’d like someone to take over on your behalf. Usually, this works when emailing employees to let them know you expect them to do an assignment or project.

Feel free to use it to encourage employees to take on a task. It’s a good way to let them know you’ve got something for them to do.

You can also refer to this email sample to help you:

Dear Adam,

I need you to delegate this task. Please find someone who is willing to complete it for us before the deadline.

Sam Walker

2. Assign

You can also use “assign” as another way to pass responsibility on to someone else. This one works well in professional emails.

Of course, you can always “assign” a task to someone new.

However, to keep things interesting, you can also use this when someone sets you up a new task.

For instance, they might have been given a task, but they don’t want to do it. So, instead, they turn to you and assign it to you to help them complete it.

Here’s a great sample email to show you how it works:

Dear Mr. Smith,

Why have you assigned the project to them? Do you think they’re the best fit for completing it?

All the best,
Holly Cobra

3. Attribute

“Attribute” is a great formal term here. It shows you would like to pass a task to someone because you trust they’ll do a good job.

Generally, you can attribute jobs to coworkers. It shows you trust their ability and want to give them the first crack at a new job.

This tends to work best when you have too much work to get on with yourself. It allows you to pass something along to help you lighten the load slightly.

We also recommend reviewing this email sample:

Dear Olivia,

I’m trying to attribute this to you, as I think you’re the right woman for the job.

Kind regards,
Adam Ringrose

4. Cede

Although it might not be as common as the other words, “cede” is a great term to use.

It’s a formal and powerful synonym that shows you’re passing responsibility to someone else.

We recommend using it when emailing a client. It’s a great way to ask if they’d like to pass responsibility to someone else (i.e. if a project is too much for them).

Feel free to review this example if you’re still unsure:

Dear Miss Smith,

Would you like to cede responsibility for this one? We can find someone to do most of the work for you.

All the best,
Damian Green

5. Entrust

When someone passes responsibility to you, it usually means they trust you. After all, you wouldn’t just force someone to take on a new task if you didn’t believe in their results.

That’s why “entrust” works so well.

It’s a great formal synonym to include on your resume. It shows you’re trustworthy and dependable, which are great traits to take with you in the workplace.

New employers will be happy to see that you’ve been entrusted with projects in the past. After all, it’ll show that you’re willing to step up.

We recommend reviewing these resume samples too:

I was entrusted with completing the project because my former employer knew I was the right person for it.

You can entrust me with any task, no matter the responsibility that comes along with it.

6. Shift

Another great alternative is “shift.” It’s an excellent choice that shows your employer passes responsibility to you.

Generally, “shift” is a subtler way to pass responsibility.

It implies that someone passes on a task because they can’t handle it themselves. “Shifting” a task thus allows them to open up their schedule and fit time in for other things.

If you’re still stuck, check out the following CV samples:

I tend to get the projects people shift around, as I’m the most reliable candidate.

They shift many responsibilities to me when they need help. Therefore, I know you can count on me.

7. Outsource

We believe that “outsource” is a great word to include in professional emails. It’s highly effective because it shows you delegate tasks to appropriate parties.

Generally, if you outsource something, it means you know the task is in good hands.

Therefore, you can’t outsource without first researching the person you pass responsibility to.

This is a great way to show that you know a task well. It shows you do your due diligence and ensure that you outsource to the most effective party.

Here is a great email example to help you understand it:

Dear Mr. Jackson,

We’re going to outsource this to another department. We’ll be in touch when we know more.

Kind regards,
Jon Bennett

8. Reassign

When you’ve been assigned a task, you may find it more beneficial to reassign it. Therefore, “reassign” is a great term to use here.

It shows you’ve shifted responsibility to another party.

We recommend using it when emailing your boss. After all, it could be a good way to encourage your boss to consider a different employee to take on a task.

Don’t worry; the term is very formal. That’s why it works so well in most email situations.

This email sample should also clear things up:

Dear Ms. Murphy,

I’d like you to reassign this task to someone else. Please review the attachment for a detailed list of who I think will do it best.

Duncan Copley

9. Offload

Going back to more resume-based alternatives, you can use “offload.” It’s a bit more conversational, but it’s a great way to show that someone passed a task to you.

“Offload” typically means that a project is too hard for the original party.

So, if you’re the one they offload the project to, it implies you are well-equipped to handle yourself in a tricky situation.

If you’re still unsure, review these examples:

They tend to offload most of the difficult projects to me. That’s why I know I’m a good fit for a role like this.

It’s good that they offload most of their work to other departments. It helps to spread the load when necessary.

10. Divert

You can also use “divert” when passing responsibility to someone else. It’s a good way to share that you’ve moved a task to someone new.

Generally, this is a good formal alternative. We recommend including it when filling in a resume or cover letter.

It shows you’re a go-to person. It’s a great way to let people know you’re trustworthy and willing to help with new tasks.

Check out these examples if you still need help:

They tend to divert most of those issues to me. I know them well, so I’m okay with handling them.

It’s good that they rely on me and divert the responsibility. I’m happy to have learned so much from them.

11. Surrender

This one’s a little different. The other synonyms relate to someone choosing to pass responsibility to someone else.

However, “surrender” means you were forced to pass responsibility to another party.

This could occur if you’re not cut out to complete a task. You may have to surrender your responsibility if someone deems you unworthy or unreliable.

It’s not a good thing, but the context is relevant enough that we thought it’d be good to include!

Also, these examples should help you with it:

Unfortunately, we had to surrender responsibility for this project. Our competitors knew more about the situation.

I didn’t want to surrender it to them, but I couldn’t think of any other way around the issue.

12. Palm Off

And for a more informal alternative, you can write “palm off.” It’s a great conversational synonym that shows you have passed responsibility to someone else.

Generally, this is considered a more negative term. It shows you have given someone a task because you didn’t want to do it yourself.

This typically relates to undesirable or boring tasks that you think are beneath you. You may “palm it off” to someone who would be more likely to complete something mundane.

Check out these message examples if you still need some help:

They palm off a lot on me. I’m okay with it because I consider everything experience at the end of the day.

I don’t like that they palm it off on me. However, I need to complete the tasks, as I don’t want to get in trouble.