How to Enable Your Team to Help You

Leading a project can be overwhelming, but your team can be an asset to help you. If you let them! Leadership coach Susanne Madsen shows you how to engage your team in sharing project management responsibilities.

Here’s a shot of the whiteboard for your reference!

team members can help project managers

In Review: How to Enable Your Team to Help You Out

Susanne acknowledged that being a project manager can be a lot of work. Sometimes it might seem like there’s too much work you’re responsible for that you just can’t delegate to others. But, she noted, your team is there to help you with the project management duties, if you give them the opportunity and if you allow yourself to receive the help. 

Susanne offered five pointers for how to enable your team to help you lessen your workload and streamline the project for maximum efficiency:

  1. Ask for help. It’s okay to admit you don’t know it all.
  2. Plan collaboratively; it brings the team together.
  3. Share responsibilities to create buy-in from your team.
  4. Delegate elegantly; know your team members strength.
  5. Prioritize the important work for yourself, then give your team the rest.

The overall goal is to engage the team to support you, but also help them develop new skill and abilities to help them grow, all for the benefit of the project.

Pro-Tip: Effective leaders know that they don’t know it all and they can’t do it all. Think of your project holistically, and your team as a dynamic collaborating unit that can be maximized to help not just you, but each other, as well.  

Take it further: Learn more tips on how engage and build your team to get improve project performance and your organizational culture.

Thanks for watching!


Hi, I’m Susanne Madsen, welcome to this whiteboard session on how to enable your team to help you out. I work with many project managers who find that their workload is overwhelming, and they don’t feel they have anyone to delegate to. If that is how you feel, then let’s look at what you can do to actually enable your team to help out.

First of all, you need to consider that asking for help is okay, and it is okay not to know it all. If you have a perception that you must know it all and do it all and be in control of it all, then that perception can lead to burnout. So you need to consider very well why you feel that way. Maybe you feel that it’s weak to ask for help, but in fact it can be a strength to reach out and ask for other people to support you. You can go to the project management office if your company has a PMO, and ask them to give you a project management administrator, who can help you with the low-level detail. That could make all the difference.

Secondly, I can not encourage you enough to plan collaboratively. In the old days, the project managers used to sit behind their desk with Microsoft Project, and do all the planning on their own. Of course, they would ask for feedback from other people, but it would not be a collaborative effort. I encourage you to open up, get into a meeting room, or do it virtually if your team is remote, plan collaboratively, bring sticky notes and marker pens, and open up, ask the questions, what needs to get done and by when? You see, when you plan collaboratively, it means that you spread the workload, because you enable other people to see what needs to get done, and the ownership is not just on you as a project manager. It’s an ideal way to help others to help you.

This goes hand in hand with sharing responsibilities. If you plan collaboratively, and you come up with a big master plan about everything that needs to get done, make sure that you also discuss who owns which milestones, who is going to do what. How are we making sure that I don’t own everything as a project manager? This also goes for the project’s risks and issues. Just because you’re the project manager, you shouldn’t own it all, you own the process, but make sure that you share responsibilities also for the project’s risks and issues.

Then we come to delegate elegantly. You see, many project managers are reluctant to delegating. One of the reasons is that they don’t feel they want to overwhelm other people or overload other people. But if you delegate elegantly, it means that you give others something to do, which is generally very motivating for that person. It may grow that person, and at the same time, it frees you up to do something else.

Consider tracking the project’s budget, that may be something you’ve done a lot of times, and it’s just another task for you. But if you delegate that to a team member who has never been trusted with tracking the budget before, it might create a stretch goal for them, it might be motivating for them. You see, this is a win-win situation. If you feel that you don’t really have anyone to delegate to because they’re not senior enough, all you need to do is gradually give them more stretch, and to support them, mentor and coach them, as you do so.

Lastly, prioritize the important. This can really help you to reduce overwhelm. Use Pareto’s principle, also known as the 80/20 rule. Look at what the 20% are that you do during a week or during a day, that adds to 80% of your results. It is those 20% that you really need to focus on at the beginning of your day, keep your focus, when you get that done, you know you’re on track. That should help you to reduce your overwhelm, and the remaining 80%, you can delegate to your team, preferably, in an elegant way.

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