7 March, 2023

Delegation: How to Get People to Do What They Say They Say They Will

Let me tell you about one of the most valuable lessons I learned. It relates to a challenge many Project Managers face… Delegation

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This is learning, so, sit back and enjoy

The Delegation Challenge

Here’s the Challenge:

Leading a team of people who neither report to you, nor owe you any allegiance of duty nor loyalty.

For such a team, the skills of project management are all about influence. Listening is an essential component of true influence. But people had already pointed that out to me. Much of the rest, I had to learn for myself.

But I’d like to point you towards one single tip.

If you need someone to do something for you, you need to do three things:

  1. Identify the right person (I was taught that)
  2. Brief them well (I was taught that too)
  3. Look them in the eye and secure their explicit commitment to take on and deliver the task. This, I was not taught.

Four Commitments

Indeed, there are three commitments I will always look for, in this order:

  1. Confirmation that they understand the task I am requesting of them
  2. Confirmation that they feel equipped (skills and resources) to take it on, and able to succeed
  3. This is the big one. Confirmation that they commit to do the task. And, to the best of their ability, within the parameters we have discussed.

In exchange, I will offer one more triple commitment of my own: that I will give them the resources, guidance, and support they need, to do the work I’ve assigned them

And, here’s a bonus

I also learned for myself to treat any response that is not an unambiguous ‘yes’ as if it is a ‘no’.

How to Delegate without Stress

How to Delegate without Stress

…is one of our soft skills courses. A lot of project managers need to learn how to delegate effectively to multiply their effectiveness, build team resilience, and increase motivation in their team. And this will teach you all the skills.

Carefully curated video recommendations for you:

What Kit does a Project Manager Need?

I asked Project Managers in a couple of forums what material things you need to have, to do your job as a Project Manager. They responded magnificently. I compiled their answers into a Kit list. I added my own. 

Check out the Kit a Project Manager needs

Note that the links are affiliated.

Learn Still More

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For more of our Project Management videos in themed collections, join our Free Academy of Project Management.

For more of our videos in themed collections, join our Free Academy of Project Management

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Mike Clayton

About the Author...

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.
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