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Time management - Delegation process

Delegation process


Choose the task well. You are trying to delegate as many tasks as possible.
You must be happy that the task doesn’t rely only on your input. Choose the person well. They must be motivated and competent to take on the task when asked.

Clarify what is required and the expected finished article and then leave them to it. Establish reporting routines.
Establish authority limits, for example, requests for extra staff or an increase in budget spending may have to go through you.
The staffing and budget may be fixed.


The aim is to monitor as little as possible but just enough to give you peace of mind that things are on track. You don’t want to interfere.
Agree with the individual the timing of a verbal progress report. Either daily or weekly depending on the situation. The latter could be part of a team meeting. You could have a more formal written report on a monthly basis. Try to encourage the person to derive their own solutions and only step in if you anticipate imminent critical failure. Remember be constructive as the job will be a learning process.


Do this as a matter of course after every job. It is there to learn lessons, hand out praise for things well done and to be constructive about anything that did not go as well as expected. Don’t focus too much on the negative aspects.


There are plenty of pitfalls to watch out for. You may recognise many of these.
If you do, you may be wasting your time.

  • There can be a tendency to try to keep the good and exciting jobs and delegate the tricky or boring ones.
  • Consider the person you are delegating to. Is it suitable? Will it help them grow? Don’t delegate just for the sake of it.
  • Make sure you are thorough with the process and do not delegate too quickly. Provide the correct background and information.
  • Don’t do all the planning let the person do it themselves. Whilst you may give guidance as to the end requirements you will de-motivate them if you do it all for them.
  • Your control may be too weak to correct any wayward activities. You don’t want to over control so make sure that you discuss this with the person and the reasons for it. The amount of control will vary according to the experience of the individual. A lack of control can lead to worry about success.
  • Do not ‘pass the buck’ or ‘look for a scapegoat’ if it all goes wrong. You delegated the task so it is your fault. If control is poor you will miss opportunities where you could have helped. Either with knowledge, releasing budget or increasing staff input etc.
  • The problem with control and being available is that it is easy to be drawn into providing all of the solutions. Persons that are competent to solve the problem but lack motivation may try to dump the issue with you and you must resist. If they come to you with a problem ask them to put it in writing together with potential solutions and arrange a meeting for later to discuss it. Sometimes, only you may have the authority to release particular resource.
  • Even in this case you can pass on the authority to the person either in writing or by a telephone call. You can then let them get on with it and report back later.
  • If you need to provide details and sign anything let them fill in the bulk of the document. Then arrange a meeting for later to discuss it and for you to sign it.

Remember, you have delegated the task and it is your decision that they get on with the job and it is not down to you.

Tough personnel

Some people are just hard to manage. These could be some of the reasons.


Some people seem to approach everything in a negative manner. If this is the case then hurdles to success could be raised on a frequent basis. Don’t allow negativity to creep into a project. If someone has issues get them to write them down and suggest solutions to all of them. Then consider them between you and challenge them. Are they feasible? Too costly? Will extra staff or equipment be needed?
Once satisfied they can get on with implementing their solution. In general, these people are de-motivated and need encouragement to gain confidence and enthusiasm for the task.


Some people promise a lot and fail to deliver. Help them by encouraging them to produce a written plan with milestones that will give them an incentive to monitor activities. Keep an eye on developments.


These people focus on what is going to go wrong. They are good at looking ahead and coming up with problems. This can have a negative affect on the project if allowed to get out of control. Get them to write down their concerns and suggest solutions.

Yes man

Some people always seem to agree, almost afraid to say anything that may be considered negative or make them look foolish in the eyes of their senior managers. This fear can be reduced by talking to them and trying to encourage honest opinion. You may need to ask for it at first. If any problems are raised ask for solutions and give praise.


One or two persons have a habit of never carrying out a task unless they check it first with you.
They must be encouraged to do the tasks themselves.
Clarify the levels of authority with them so that they know where they will be expected to make decisions and where not. Tell them that you think they are good enough to do the job by themselves.

Non - PRINCE2 information