4 Steps to Diligent Delegation

people resource management Mar 07, 2021
4 Steps to Diligent Delegation

In addition to good planning up front, execution of any project can be effortless if you develop the critical soft skills needed to succeed.  Let's consider delegation.  Unfortunately, new project managers often lack confidence or fear loss of control, leading to lower levels of delegation. Even more unfortunately, loss of control is what normally happens when project managers fail to delegate and do too much by themselves. They have to resist the "I can do it better or faster myself" thinking and set up a successful delegation.  Correct delegations will help to reduce and level workloads.

A correct delegation considers the skill level required for the task, and then selects the best person to carry out the task. As delegations and project work continue, everyone's self confidence, including the self confidence of the project manager will receive a boost. Delegation taps into the power of the team to accomplish project activities. It can be a learning experience, boost team confidence, and be a step toward developing a high performing team when done properly. A project manager will achieve more by delegating what others can do, even if they are not up to his or her level of competence, because the focus will be on planning and managing.

Delegation starts with four easy steps.

Step 1: Select and Empower the Right Person

The right person is someone who has the necessary skills or can obtain the necessary skills to get the job done. If the task is too far below, or too far above the competence level of the team member frustration may result. Make sure they are a good fit, then let them solve the problem or do the work at hand.

Step 2: Clearly Communicate

What needs to be accomplished and any expectations should be clearly communicated.  Through open ended questions and asking the individual to repeat instructions back to you,  if necessary, make sure the task is well understood.

Step 3: Communicate "What," Not "How"

The communication should discuss the "what" but leave the "how" to the team member. This will empower the team member. As team members feel empowered, their performance on the project will increase. 

Step 4: Demonstrate Confidence

As the person making the assignment, sincerely demonstrate confidence that the team member will successfully complete the assignment. 

If you can follow these four simple steps, then you will have the necessary basics. Of course, having the perfect resource available is not always possible. So when you need to make a compromise, consider the impact of the assignment on the growth of the individual and the risk to the project, based on the competence of the individual and the complexity of the task. Give assignments, which will help the team learn and grow.

As you become more skilled at delegations, consider how any decisions that need to be made with respect to how the work is done will be made. You obviously don't want to just tell someone how to do the work. But if their level of competence for the task is lower, you may want to make a decision and then make sure they understand and buy into it. Of course, an option for someone highly competent at any level of complexity may be trusted to both decide and then carry out the task.

Today's post is based on a lesson from Accidental Project Manager: The Online Experience, a Project Hero Academy course.  What to find out if the Academy is for you and learn more about project management?  Visit Project Hero Academy to apply for free admission.

Subscribe for Our Project Management Resources, Best Practices, and Tips

Confirm your subscription to receive an email with immediate download access to Project Manager's Resources, a valuable list of books and web sites.

Get the latest tips and updates sent directly to your inbox monthly.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.