5 key tips for successful delegation

in Team

As a project manager it can be tempting to think you’ve got to do it all yourself. Despite having a team around you, it can be hard to let go and to delegate those parts of the project you know you should be. Which parts? Well, a truly brilliant project manager will do very little hands on project action, instead will focus on managing the team, picking up slack to achieve deadlines and effectively delegating everything else to appropriate team members. So the quick answer is, all the parts.

How to delegate

Here are five key tips to help you delegate more effectively

1. Let go, and trust in your team

You know you’re good at your job, and with a clear vision of how you want the project to go, it can be tempting to think that if you want something done properly then you’ll have to do it yourself. Learning to let go and hand the reins to other people is a tough one, but something that you have to do if you are going to succeed in project management.
Yes, the other person may not do it 100% the same way as you, but if the goal is achieved then does it matter? And in some (rare) cases, someone else’s idea might actually be a bit better than your own!

2. Empower your team

This follows on from the first tip quite naturally, in that you need to place your trust in your team and to give them the autonomy they need to go ahead and make their own decisions in their roles. Empowerment is about giving them responsibility, accountability and letting them develop their own project management skills. Do this successfully and you’ll have a team of dedicated and motivated mini project managers who will add value to your projects and your organisation.

3. Crystal clear instructions

Remember that your team are not inside your head. Unless you have meticulously instructed them on the finer details of how you would like tasks carried out, don’t be surprised if the end result is slightly different to how you envisaged it.

You need to make clear where you are now, and where you want that person to get to; a simple point A to point B instruction. The level of instruction you give on how to get there will depend on how experienced that person is, and whether you can stop yourself from trying to micromanage.

4. Delegation is a two way street

Remember that as well as delegating down, you can delegate upwards too. Tasks requiring special knowledge or skills, or those which fall outside of your remit as a PM, should be delegated upwards to senior managers, or even outsourced to get the specialist help you need.
Encourage your team members to delegate up as well if they feel a part of their task is beyond their capabilities or responsibilities.

5. Invest for the long term

It can be tempting to think that you are better off handling everything yourself, particularly if you are managing a small business or project managing small, one or two person schemes. From the outside looking in, it could seem like it will take longer to hire and instruct an assistant than it will to just get it done yourself, which is true, but delegation is a long term investment and a means of securing a better future for your business. Invest in the training and development of people around you and you’ll be rewarded with a stronger, more capable team in the future. Where necessary arrange a project management course to improve the PM skills of team members.

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Michelle Symonds has 49 articles online and 1 fans

The author is a certified Project Manager and believes all PM professionals should keep their skills up-to-date with the latest project management courses. She also writes a PM skills.

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5 key tips for successful delegation

This article was published on 2013/03/02