When Should You Delegate?
During today’s PM Quick Tip, I will discuss the important and often overlooked topic of delegation. Key takeaways from this article include understanding how, when, and why to delegate tasks to subordinates within your project team.
Delegate, Don’t Micro-Manage
Two root causes of Micro-Management are a lack of trust and an undefined scope.
Micro-Managers engage in the minute details of “the How,” and they’re very concerned with the steps taken to achieve the end goal. As a consequence, they often lose sight of their own jobs and responsibilities, while also stifling the creativity and inspiration of their team members. On the contrary, I try to clearly explain “the What” or the end goal, and then take time to ask for feedback and answer questions.
Delegate to Establish Trust
The first step to effective delegating is to select project resources who are capable and willing to get the job done.
Next, clarify some measurable expectations for the task at hand, such as reporting requirements or frequency of communication. This clearly defined scope will enable the future leader to whom you’re delegating to identify the path that they will take to achieve their objectives.
Project team members who are empowered to be responsible for segments of the project will operate in an environment of trust, and grow within this space. Particularly during the initial stages, I regularly check in with the team member in order to stay abreast of progress and risks, while allowing him or her some freedom to lead the task autonomously.
Delegate to Avoid Bottlenecks
The “I want to control it all” managers, we all know one, double as project bottlenecks when they hinder progress because they’ve missed an important email or did not attend a meeting because they “didn’t have the bandwidth.”
When I delegate decision-making responsibility to a capable project team member, not only does this free up a potential bottleneck, but it also empowers the team member to exercise and build his or her leadership skills. Of course I’ll request and review meeting minutes, and touch base with the team member to debrief, but this allows for work objectives to proceed in parallel, which in turn benefits the entire project team.
What other benefits have you found after successfully delegating to others? Please leave your thoughts and comments below!