Knowing how to be a good delegator is one of the most important aspects of effective project management. To paraphrase the saying, no PM is an island and the reason you are in the role you are is to find and utilize the various strengths of your team. By bringing together complementary skills and assigning tasks in a way that maximizes productivity, you can make your team a greater force than the sum of its parts.
That all sounds perfect, but we still need to answer the question of how to be a good delegator. Some people can have a natural skill for seeing people’s talents and delegating tasks effectively. For the most part however, task delegation is a skill that needs to be worked on and improved over time. Here are some factors to take into account when learning how to be a good delegator:
- Trust your own ability
You’re in the hot seat, you’re making the calls on who’s doing what, you’re responsible. It’s easy to second-guess yourself or worry you’ve made the wrong choice but at the end of the day you have to believe in yourself. You won’t always get it right, no-one does, but being determined in your convictions gives confidence to those around you and is a sign of faith in those who have been given the tasks.
- Trust those around you
A project manager can’t do it all, as much as they might want to. Micro-managing your team and constantly looking over their shoulder however can undermine employee confidence, as well as being irritating. You have chosen them, let them get on with their work and believe in their abilities.
- Be clear about expectations
Communication is a major component of delegating tasks effectively. Your team need to know exactly what’s expected of them and when deliverables are due. By outlining expectations fully at the beginning, you will have a go-to benchmark throughout the task’s progress.
- Make resources are in place
Without the necessary equipment, software or other resources, even the best of staff will be performing below their potential. If you have delegated a task to someone, make sure that they have everything they need to succeed or else you are dooming them to failure before they even begin.
- Make yourself available and approachable
There’s another resource which your team will greatly depend on, you. The aim of delegation is to reduce your own workload but there’s no harm in assisting with direction and advice. Let your team know they can come to you if they have any concerns and that you are available to help them out.
- Inform your team of the bigger picture
Focusing on painting one corner of the Sistine Chapel might become boring or seem pointless. While delegating to your team make sure to keep them informed of the importance of the project and the value and pride they should place in their individual tasks.
- Map out development pathways
Task delegation is not just about getting the project completed, it can also be an excellent professional development tool for your team. Identify how staff would like to grow and improve and see how you can work to integrate that into how you delegate your project’s tasks.
- Be honest in your assessments
Experience is the greatest window for learning. At important milestones along your project’s course, be clear in reviewing them. Note what worked, how team members performed and whether or not you are satisfied with your task delegation decision making. In this way you will hone your abilities for delegation in the future.
Task delegation is one of the most important skills a project manager can have. No-one can be perfect all the time but by revising projects and learning lessons you can improve and discover how to be a good delegator.