Project Management

3 Reasons Why Your Delegating Is Failing (and How to Improve)

The delegation of tasks is an action that project managers need to become experts at, very quickly. Unfortunately, delegation is not something that is simply taught; rather, it is a skill learned through experience. In a post for A Girl’s Guide to Project Management, Elizabeth Harrin lays out everything that you need to do to become effective at delegation.


To begin with, delegation is “where responsibility or authority for a task is assigned to someone, normally from a manager or someone more senior in the organization to a team member.” There are three common reasons why you may not already be delegating:

  1. Delegation may seem like diligent work, because of all the instructions you will need to give. Perhaps, it just seems easier to do it yourself.
  2. This task may fall under the realm of your normal responsibility, and by not completing it, you seem like a slacker.
  3. You already know how to be the best at your job, and no one could ever imagine being as successful as you.

At the heart of all of these reasons is one reoccurring problem: You need to get over yourself. It is in fact your job to help sharpen other people’s skills by giving them challenging tasks. You need to spend the time empowering your team so they can complete tasks to your standards.

How to Delegate Effectively

Delegation is all about handing out tasks that you do not need to do yourself. To begin, you need to believe that delegation is your job, as well as your right. You need to gather a group of people in your team, and then empower them to complete the tasks well. You must not micromanage the team because it is a waste of everyone’s time. Additionally, try to understand things from the perspective of the team. Delegating certain tasks provides a learning opportunity for the individual, and not allowing them this advancement opportunity is deprivation. Before delegating a task, you should look at and understand the individual’s skill and will. When they have the high skills coupled with the high willingness to complete the tasks, you will see the results you want.

The first step in actually delegating is to arrange a meeting. This does not need to be a formal affair, but it will act to lay the groundwork of information the person will need to complete their task. Be sure to emphasize deadlines and other pertinent details of the project. You should then go into detail of each step, and be sure that they fully understand what is being asked of them. Finally, you should monitor and follow up as appropriate; this includes a debrief when the work is completed!

You can read the original post here:


Danielle Koehler

Danielle is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. She has degrees in English and human resource management from Shippensburg University.

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