5 Ways To Improve Your Delegation Skills

Paul Naybour

Delegation is a key skill for a project manager but it is often very difficult to execute efficiently.
Here are 5 ways to improve your delegation skills:

Give Notice

You should never make assumptions with project management, ever. Your team members should be well organised and committed to achieving their objectives on time. If you throw a task at a team member last-minute they will more than likely struggle to complete it efficiently, or other tasks they have may suffer as a result.
Ensure you clearly explain their task to them, giving them as much notice as possible so that they have ample time to complete it. They should clearly understand what the task is and when it needs to be completed. Of course there will always be times you have to delegate at short notice, but the more you can keep this to a minimum the better.

Be the boss without being bossy

Your job role as project manager is to delegate and provide guidance, it is not to boss your team around with no regard for their feelings. Project management training courses teach us effective communication skills, and this is one area those skills need to be put into practice. The simple act of ‘asking’ rather than ‘telling’ will benefit your entire team’s morale levels. By approaching people nicely and directly, rather than in an irritated and bossy way, you encourage a positive team atmosphere. You’re also much more likely to receive the work you ask for on time.

Give Reasons and Explanations

Your job as project manager is to help your team see the bigger picture. You are there to keep them focused on the common goal. Your team members will be demotivated if they do not understand why they are completing a task. The best way to approach this is to make the request, explain why the task needs to be done and ask if the person has any questions. Remember this is all part of steering your team towards a success outcome and team members will benefit from understanding why they are being asked to do something.

Let your team know what is expected of them

If you’re not clear on your expectations, you will lose an element of control over your team and your project. If you want to increase the chances of receiving exactly what you asked for, you have to be clear on your expectations from the outset. Leave no room for guessing and ensure your team member feels confident asking you about anything they do not understand about the task.

Provide measurable time

Rather than saying ‘as soon as possible’ give a person an actual date or time. Many people make the mistake of thinking that because they have prioritised a task and said it needs doing ASAP, that the person receiving it will also conceive it to be just as important as they do. Give a measurable time to the person you are delegating a task to, allowing them room to manoeuvre by discussing how that timescale works for them, that way a clear timescale can be agreed between you both, rather than leaving anything to assumptions.

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