How to Delegate Tasks Like a Pro

ProjectManager.com

Watch this short video with Jennifer Bridges, PMP, to learn how to delegate tasks with your team.

In Review: How to Delegate Tasks Like a Pro

Jennifer discussed the art of delegating and started with the basics of defining that term. The first thing you need to understand is what you want to delegate and why. Your goal as a manager is to clear the roadblocks and hurdles from your team. It’s also to create engagement with your team.

Here are Jennifers tips for delegating like a pro:

  • Remember your role. You’re the manager. Your job is not to get mired down in the operational work. Not only does that disrupt the team by undermining their abilities, but it leaves you little time for management.
  • Identify time wasters. What is taking up too much of your time right now? Can you hand that off to someone else?
  • Clarify routine tasks. Regular tasks can easily be taught. See what can be shared amongst the team. They don’t have to be routinized for everyone. You can rotate routine tasks between people, too.
  • Know your team’s strengths. Identify who you can delegate work to. You don’t want to hand off highly technical work to a creative team member whose skills are not well matched for the task at hand, for example. Set your team up for success.
  • Delegate, rinse and repeat. Actually hand out assignments and, as noted before, rotate some of the work among the team.

The team functions best when collaborating together for the good of the project. It can be difficult to instill new processes and a culture of collaboration into your team, but worth the work to get a team running smoothly.

Thanks for watching!

Transcription

Hello, my name is Jennifer Whitt, Director at ProjectManager.com.

Well, welcome to your whiteboard session today on, “How to delegate tasks like a pro.” Often people approach me and say, ‘What is it that you really do?’ And I’m shocked, I’m like, ‘what do you mean by that?’ And they say, ‘well, you’re never at your desk, so I’m not sure what you do. We always just see you kind of roaming the floor, having meetings, talking to people.’

So it dawned on me that what’s really happening, they don’t really understand that I get to work at 6:00 a.m., do a lot of preparation, organizing, planning my day before they ever get into the office. And, what I realized, the most important part was, I learned long ago how to delegate. So it makes it look like my job is so easy. And so another part is I surround myself by smart people who make me look good. So, I learned early on that to find a model, I watched people, other people and how they ran their job or conducted their business. And to see, ‘wow, why is it that they make things look so easy.” So I studied them. And so by studying others finding my own model, surrounding myself by smart people, I learned how to delegate like a pro. And I wanted to share a couple things with you.

If you’ve watched any of our other previous whiteboard sessions, you know I like start with a definition for some terms because they are often used incorrectly. If you go to my good friend Google, and you Google the word delegate, we’re looking for, there’s a noun and there’s a verb. We’re looking at the verb of delegate. I love this when there are several options, right? You’re going to get probably millions of hits. The one that I liked the most was by Yahoo and it was considered the most favorite definition. It’s to entrust a task or responsibility to another person. Typically one who is less senior than oneself. And that would be me or you as a project manager.

I really like this because a lot of times a lot of things go wrong with number 1, either not delegating or delegating things incorrectly or the wrong things and delegating the wrong things to the wrong people. Before we go into the six tips I want to offer, I want to start from what, okay? Going back to the definition, what do we want to delegate? We need to define what routine task or responsibilities that we want to delegate and why do we want to do that? Because you as the project manager you don’t want to become the bottleneck of the project, right? So if that’s the case you’re going to be part of the problem of your own derailed project.

You want to focus your time, you want to spend your biggest bang for the buck on where it’s more important for you. That’s managing projects and leading the people on your team. How do we do this? What are the steps, what are my six tips to delegate like a pro? What have I learned from my models and what have I experienced and with many lessons learned along the way?

Number 1, remember your role. Remember this is the best use of your time. Your best use, again, is managing your project, leading your people. Doing the strategic part, the planning, building, nurturing, relationships, not only within your team, among your stake-holders, with your clients. Any external organizations or vendor partners. That’s the best use of your time. Remember your role as the project manager.

Number 2, determine your time wasters. What is taking up most of your time? You want to find out where am I wasting most of my time. Not using most of your time, but wasting. Wasting meaning what can you delegate to someone else so you can have more time to do what you want to do instead.

Number 3, clarify the routine task and responsibilities that you can delegate. It’s best when you have a process around those so when it’s routine, it’s something that can be done over and over again. Something that can be operationalised its clear, its defined, its determined how it can be done, that’s the most easy thing to delegate because that’s what you can give to someone less senior than you. If you have a process and determine who is qualified to do that or can take it and run with it and get it done. So if you give it, this is where you can delegate the wrong thing to the wrong person and it frustrates them. The work doesn’t get done and what happens is you end up taking it back and doing it anyway and then that gets into other dynamics of the project.

So how can you determine who’s qualified or can take it and run with it and get it done? We will look at things like who has the experience, who has the expertise, who has the passion. A lot of times passion goes a long way, if someone has a passion of learning and wanting to do more they’re really invested and loyal to you as the project manager then they’ll get it done. Also look at thinking styles. If you need detail reports, if you want to delegate detailed reports, things that have matrix, things that need to be studied and analyses. If you give that to someone who is not a detailed person, then they’re more intuitive, then they’re more the right brain thinker than the left brain thinker. Then you’re only going to set them up for failure as well as yourself, it’s not going to get done and they’re going to get frustrated. If you need someone who is more creative and you give it to someone who is not creative, then again. So understand what your delegating and what needs to be done, to get that piece done. And then drive, who has the drive again, who has the drive to get it done. And Then follow through it is important that that person has the ability to follow through, otherwise they’ll just keep coming back to you asking you a million questions, a million questions. How do we do this? How do we do that? Who do I call? And always needing your guidance, then it’s probably not the best person to get it done because remember your trying to get rid of the time wasters so you do not become the bottleneck.

And then the fifth step is really to delegate. And then rinse and repeat, early and often. And then again it’s the bonus, find your ‘Pro’ that you can study and model, I’m always big on that. Whatever you’re doing, your trying to learn and grow to do things better. Define your ‘Pro’, your model, to study and then the biggest key is surround yourself with smart people, who can make you look good. So those are just some of the things that I’ve learned so that I don’t become the bottleneck and that’s how I’ve learned to delegate like a Pro.

If you need a tool to help you determine what routine tasks to delegate, try ProjectManager.com.

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