University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee School of Continuing Education
Project Management Monthly: February 2011: Tips and Tricks

What Does it Mean to Delegate?

How would you rate yourself in your management of your team on a scale of 1-10? How would your team rate you?

With the new year in tow, ask yourself how you can do more with your team. By encouraging, praising and delegating tasks you can help individuals involved in the project grow to new heights over the next year. It’s a simple process that, as managers, we may not be able to focus on under the paperwork and timelines we have to meet.

Looking back at your mentors over your career, focus in on the important items each one has taught you. As you look back, the most important mentors will be delegators. They were able to educate you through advanced project work, while engaging and encouraging you in the process. Focus on the task of delegating (not dumping) work on your team for similar results.

Delegation can be a hard role to grasp. After all, delegation is letting go of some authority while retaining the responsibility. Here are some simple tips and tricks to help you decide who and what to delegate:
  1. If you are delegating appropriately, you are giving a team member the full task to complete. Prior to delegation, make sure that s/he has the right level of security and authority to complete the project. If the person is only able to approve $2,000 in spending, do not give them a $10,000 project.

  2. Stay engaged with the project. Don’t “dump” your workload by simply walking away from the team member. Make time to touch base with the individual, answer questions, walk them through the necessary steps. This also secures your ability to manage the project closely. Build this into the project’s timeline.

  3. What are the end results you would like to accomplish? When starting the delegation process, clearly communicate these end results with the team member who you will be delegating too. If they know your end focus it will help drive their direction and results.

  4. How will you measure your results? Share this information so that team members know what performance and project evaluation will be based on.
Remember to touch base, praise and educate the person who you are delegating the task to along the project’s way. A happy employee is also a more productive employee.


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