“If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.”
-John C. Maxwell
As a project manager, leadership success is much more than managing a long list of tasks and working day in and day out for your team’s success. It includes passing the baton by delegating tasks and sharing workload effectively.
While you may be hesitant to delegate tasks at first, with practice, you will learn how to delegate tasks and help your team members accomplish projects together.
Stay hooked as we throw the spotlight on how to delegate tasks and get things done effortlessly.
This blog will delve into what task delegation is, its importance, the tips to delegate tasks, and much more.
What Is Task Delegation?
Delegation is the transfer of specific tasks from a superior to a subordinate. It refers to granting responsibility or authority to a team member to complete a particular task. It is one of the most helpful management skills that help managers reduce their workload and take time for other high-level activities that matter the most for a project.
Why Is Delegating Important?
As a manager, when you delegate responsibilities, you inadvertently build a stronger team that is built to last.
Effective delegation helps you:
- Empower your team by granting them greater autonomy
- Build trust within the team
- Allow yourself time to focus on higher-value activities
- Motivate the employees to perform better
- Increase overall team productivity
- Supports team’s professional development
So, embrace delegation in your everyday project management routine, and you will surely notice the difference it brings to the overall team and project management. You will be surprised by the greater efficiency reflected in project outcomes due to team members’ increased sense of responsibility.
Why Do People Fear Delegating Tasks?
Delegating, as easy as it sounds, can be difficult for some who may not have the will or the ability to delegate. While some may be too hesitant to start delegating, others might develop a fear of the result due to previous delegation failures. The key here is to identify why a person may not feel motivated enough to utilize the power of delegation for easing project management while building team effectiveness.
Here are a few common reasons why people back out from delegating:
- It will mean passing off your work to subordinates
- They think they are the only ones who can perform the task as required
- They are nervous about losing control and fear that someone else may get the credit
- They believe that explaining what is expected will take up more time than simply doing the task themselves
- They lack confidence or trust in who they need to transfer the project to
- They don’t trust employees with the ability to handle more work
- They don’t wish to delegate the work that they enjoy doing themselves
Thus, you must recognize what is holding you back from delegating work to others despite understanding the importance of delegating.
It might take some hits and misses before you get confident enough to delegate responsibilities to team members without hesitation. The key is to keep learning from your mistakes and evolving your delegation style to attain a stage where you and your team members are convinced of the results of the delegated tasks.
The Difference Between Delegation & Allocation
Managers and leaders often use allocation and delegation interchangeably. However, they imply different things.
The term allocation refers to directing a team member to complete a specific action on time. On the other hand, delegation refers to transferring your tasks to a team member while granting them the power to make decisions and deliver work at their discretion.
Let’s understand the concept of delegation better with an example.
Suppose you’re a project manager responsible for delivering a campaign. Some of your responsibilities will include getting the client brief, creating the campaign roadmap, assigning work across content and design teams, and monitoring progress in real-time. Apart from these, you may also be responsible for sending social media creatives for stakeholder approval, creating a campaign launch report, and adjusting social media strategy post launching the campaign.
That’s a handful of tasks in your kitty!
If you get down to achieving each of these tasks yourself, you may end up missing an essential task or completing all tasks while facing burnout.
Here is where task delegation comes into play.
The best place to start is to assess the tasks you can delegate to your subordinates. It is also essential to find out who can achieve these tasks as required.
You could delegate the responsibility of creating a campaign launch report to team member A and delegate the task of getting stakeholder feedback on creatives to team member B.
This simple action will help you focus on other crucial tasks while empowering team members A and B with greater authority at the workplace.
How to Effectively Delegate in Project Management
Work delegation involves several attempts at accomplishing a task through delegation and arriving at a delegation style that best suits you and your team’s needs.
If you are wondering how to delegate work as a manager so that work is accomplished timely with all pieces of a project delivery falling correctly, look no further than the below-mentioned points.
We have done all the heavy lifting and compiled a list of delegation techniques that have worked in organizations big or small, regardless of the type of industry. By leveraging these techniques, you will be better prepared to delegate tasks to your team members and effective workload management, resulting in desired project outcomes.
1. Capitalize on Your Employee’s Strengths
When delegating, choosing the right person for the job is essential. For this, you must understand each team member’s caliber and identify who has the relevant skills to work on a particular project or task.
When you identify and leverage each team member’s unique set of strengths to delegate, it will result in short-term achievements as well as long-term organizational success.
2. Know What & When to Delegate
First, map out which tasks can be delegated and which require your expertise.
You can use a Gantt Chart to visualize all your scheduled tasks in one place. The chart gives you a quick overview of all tasks and their timelines. So you can assess which tasks are overlapping and delegate the ones that do not require your expert attention. Similarly, you can gain a clear picture of recurring tasks and delegate the ones your team members can take up independently.
Once the list of tasks you can delegate is sorted, identify whether it is the ideal time to delegate.
For instance, if you’re assigning a task for the first time, you might not want to delegate it towards the end of the project. That’s because performing a task well for the first time may take longer than expected.
Instead, start delegating tasks from the beginning, i.e., when you receive your new set of goals.
3. Establish the Reason for Task Delegation
Convey why you want to delegate tasks to employees and how it will help them grow personally and professionally.
Show confidence in the team member’s ability to carry out the task. This will increase their self-confidence and equip them to perform tasks with greater efficiency and zest.
As a manager, point out the skills you see in employees and tie them to the requirements of the task you wish to assign.
Until you establish the reason for task delegation, employees may question why a task is being delegated to them and not performed by the manager itself. If such things are unclear, it may result in the non-fulfillment of task objectives to the best of their ability.
4. Be Specific About the End Result
When delegating tasks, be clear on what you expect from employees. Provide proper instructions and define the desired outcome. Set expectations right from the beginning so that no confusion follows later.
Without clear expectations, your employee may face difficulties figuring out how to proceed with tasks, what to achieve, and when. Being clear from the get-go will help you and your employees perform tasks in line with the expected results.
Thus, it’s indispensable to stay aligned with the expected end results to accomplish set goals on time.
5. Adopt a Powerful Task Management Tool
Picture this. You define the tasks of a project. Next, you delegate these tasks to your team members verbally or on paper and commence the project. However, midway through project execution, you realize that tasks are not going as planned. And this might risk timely project completion.
In such situations, a task management tool comes in handy. It helps you streamline processes and build a collaborative, transparent system for task management.
ProProfs Project is one such task management software that can help you delegate tasks and track them closely from a centralized dashboard.
Using such task management tools, you can create your project dashboard from scratch or use a ready-to-use template to get started in minutes. Additionally, you can define the timeline and track the progress for all tasks. Also, if you’re wondering how to prioritize tasks, you can create tags for tasks to define their priority level. In addition, you can establish a clear-cut workflow by setting task dependencies in project management.
6. Delegate Both Responsibility & Authority
As you delegate work, make sure that you empower your employees to make decisions themselves. Do not keep holding to responsibility and authority, making your employees depend on you for even the smallest of task execution.
Define their scope of authority and grant them the power to utilize it as and when needed. This is essential to help them grow and take full ownership of their tasks.
This shared responsibility and authority will improve the chances of achieving overall company goals in a more efficient way.
7. Stay Involved but Don’t Micromanage
One of the best task management tips is to follow up on delegated tasks at pre-decided checkpoints. However, make sure that you don’t start micromanaging and only offer relevant feedback and suggestions.
Modern task management tools allow your teams to give and receive instant feedback on tasks via task comments. So as you comment on a task, it notifies the task user about the feedback or comment received.
This eliminates micromanaging while offering feedback on the go.
8. Give Credit for Work Well Done
Don’t forget to show your appreciation to employees for achieving the tasks delegated to them. Complimenting them for their efforts and determination will make them perform even better on their next task.
Think about it. Didn’t you feel elated when your boss appreciated you for performing a task well and standing up to the expectations? Well, the same applies to your employees as well. A simple “Thank you” is bound to boost their morale and multiply their efficiency for upcoming projects and tasks!
9. Be Flexible
When delegating tasks to team members, be open to new ideas and methods of performing a task differently. Different people take different routes and employ various strategies to complete their tasks. This may vary depending on the person’s judgment or ease of adopting a specific path.
Thus, once you delegate tasks and specify requirements, let your employees choose any appropriate methodology – agile, scrum, waterfall, or critical path. This will inspire engagement and motivate your team to perform to the best of their abilities and even exceed expectations.
10. Use Failure to Their Advantage
If a team member fails to deliver the delegated task as expected, do not roast them. Instead, help them understand how they could have performed better by offering constructive feedback.
Help them understand what went wrong and what steps they can incorporate to perform better next time. Quote an instance where you, too, faced something similar and got better with practice. This will enable them to cope with inefficiency and failure positively. This will further drive them to work on their limitations and outdo themselves in the future.
Improve Your Work Delegation Skills for Effective Project Management
By now, you must have a fair idea about the importance of delegating and how to delegate tasks to your team. Once you start practicing delegation, you will realize its benefits sooner than expected.
Effective work delegation empowers team members and maximizes the organization’s overall efficiency. A great leader understands this and adopts delegation proactively to cultivate high-performing teams and deliver projects on time.
Thus, it’s best to explore the power of delegation and start delegating work to your team members right from the start. Keep in mind the above-discussed tips, and you will excel at delegation no matter the type of industry you are in.
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