What's a word for someone who, whenever there's a problem that needs to be solved, doesn't solve it and either pretends it isn't there, or gets someone else to deal with it?
It depends on the context:
- If it is their responsibility to solve the problem and they shirk their responsibility, then they are a shirker.
- If it is not their responsibility to solve the problem and they facilitate the solution, then they are a facilitator.
I used to have a doctor who always wanted to send his patients to a specialist. After I found a better doctor, I heard another former patient refer to him as a "refer-ologist".
In the creative arts field, one who gets people to do various things in order to complete a project is known as a producer or a packager.
Generic terms for someone whose occupation is getting other to do things are manager, administrator, and supervisor. A person who does it without being responsible for the others getting paid is called an expeditor.
Someone who does this in a social setting rather than an economic setting, is known as an organizer, or various pejorative terms, such as a martinet, a dictator, a nazi, or a mother-in-law.
In the United States, one common term for a person who gets others to deal with problems is buck passer. Merriam-Webster's Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary (2003) dates the term to 1920 and (not altogether helpfully) defines it as:
a person who habitually passes the buck
Fortunately, in its entry for the verb pass, the Eleventh Collegiate clarifies the crucial term:
pass the buck : to shift a responsibility to someone else
Often, a buck passer shifts responsibility horizontally—that is, to someone at the same hierarchical level. Indeed, people who have spent much time in corporate environments may have noticed that when buck passing occurs in a top–down direction it tends to be dignified as delegating, not buck passing, and the person evading responsibility through delegation is simply called a delegator.
As for someone who refuses to acknowledge that a problem exists at all, one term that people sometimes use is ostrich. Here is the relevant definition from the Eleventh Collegiate:
[fr. the belief that the ostrich when pursued hides its head in the sand and believes itself to be unseen] : one who attempts to avoid danger or difficulty by refusing to face it
Not originally a pejorative term, but has evolved to become used this way.
one who makes others do stuff for them.
“go get me my shoes.”
Copyright © 1999-2015 Urban Dictionary.
noun |ˈdɛlɪgət |
a person sent or authorized to represent others, in particular an elected representative sent to a conference. congress delegates rejected the proposals.
• a member of a committee.
verb |ˈdɛlɪgeɪt | [ with obj. ]
entrust (a task or responsibility) to another person, typically one who is less senior than oneself: she must delegate duties so as to free herself for more important tasks | the power delegated to him must never be misused.
• [ with obj. and infinitive ] send or authorize (someone) to do something as a representative: Edward was delegated to meet new arrivals.
delegable |ˈdɛlɪgəb(ə)l | adjective
delegator |ˈdɛlɪgeɪtə | noun
late Middle English: from Latin delegatus ‘sent on a commission’, from the verb delegare, from de- ‘down’ + legare ‘depute’.
Oxford Dictionary of English.
Copyright © 2010, 2013 by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
From dē- + lēgō (“send”).
verb |ˈdēlēgō | (present infinitive dēlēgāre, perfect active dēlēgāvī, supine dēlēgātum); first conjugation.
- I send, assign, dispatch, delegate
- I confide, entrust
- I lay, impose upon
- I attribute, ascribe to
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