Knowing When to Delegate

March 14, 2012 | Author: PM Hut | Filed under: Delegation

Knowing When to Delegate
By David Egan, Global Knowledge Instructor

Time and time again there’s many a manager who gets swamped with work that he can’t delegate, and sometimes the reasons are related to the manager’s inability to trust his staff to deliver on time or at all.

Delegating is an important skill for any manager. It requires a clear understanding of various team members’ skill sets as well as their ability to meet deadlines and work alone or with others.

Some managers have people who may or may not have all the needed skills. For those who don’t, maybe no new hires can be added, and new skill development might take too long or cost too much, so what to do when you’re stuck? You might be able to do the task yourself… but then you don’t need a staff if you do it all yourself. Remember that your staff has something that got them to where they are now.

Personality Counts

Certain types of personalities want to grow their skills and may be more likely to take on new tasks if they know they’ll be supported. This may require you or someone from another department mentoring them during some of the project. Add this into the plan, and stretch the time line to accommodate the extra time mentoring and on the job learning adds.

There may also be certain personalities/staff who don’t want to extend themselves or don’t want to do anything out of their current comfort zones. This is where a manager with good people skills will try to discover ways of motivating those employees to take initiative, to help others progress (mentoring), and/or get more authority or autonomy in order to accept stepping out into a new role. There are ways to get more out of almost anyone, you just have to look deeper, find the hidden triggers. You may be pleasantly surprised… or not.

Every time you stretch your skills and those of your staff, these are your own “lessons learned”… developing your people skills and developing your staff’s skills constantly. Delegation will become easier, your trust level will rise, as will your staff’s trust in you to back them when things get tight.

Delegate or suffocate… which do you prefer?

This article was originally published in Global Knowledge’s Business Brief e-newsletter. Global Knowledge delivers comprehensive hands-on project management, business process, and professional skills training. Visit our online Knowledge Center at for free white papers, webinars, and more.

© Copyright 2012, Global Knowledge. All rights reserved.

1 person has left a comment

Interesting article and I completely agree that good (project)managers are the ones who authorize and delegate to their team and the staff.
Its not just about delegating to one person that brings value to the project, but in my experience delegating to the team.

When you empower your team – you actually empower yourself as a leader/manager!

But before you can delegate you need to make the team know that you trust them, trust is a prerequisite for delegating authority – so lets assume that we have this and that the sufficient competencies in the team are available.

After you have delegated the task – trust the team/individual to make the right moves – mingle if necessary, avoid meddling! That will remove the trust and create a suspicious team/individual.

When you have outlined the project and completed the initial planning, scoping, scheduling activities you will also be able to assess which ares you can delegate and how much authority you will delegate.
Remember to re-visit this, if your team grows you are able to delegate more, if they are not able to act with-in the authority you have empowered them you will need to assess how future activities are delegated.
So you need to be careful if it is a new team how much you delegate from the start, once you have delegated authority, it can be difficult to withdraw.

Kasper Jorgensen wrote on March 15, 2012 - 1:35 pm | Visit Link

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