Most helpful to in improving delegation skills. When Do You Let Go?
(1) There are four key elements that must be part of organizing and defining the conduct of a project. What are they and why must they be kept in balance?
The four key elements are: authority, responsibility, accountability, and reliability. These elements are critical for the flow of work to proceed smoothly, they must be in balance in order to be effective (pg. 100). The four elements are interrelated, people can be held accountable only if proper authority and responsibility are given and if they get appropriate recognition/rewards for fulfilling their responsibilities (pg. 100).
(2) Distinguish between “formal authority” and “informal authority”. Which type of authority should a project manager use to manage a project?
Formal authority of a project manager usually is contained in some form of documentation, which also contains the complementary roles of other managers (e.g., functional managers, work package managers, and general managers) associated with the project (pg. 102). Informal authority is acquired on the basis of the knowledge, skills, abilities, and personal effectiveness (pg. 102). Someone can have informal authority because they have a level of trust or because of their personality. A project manager should have both formal and informal authority, but the authority they will need to use the most is formal authority. Formal authority lets everyone know who is in charge because of the role they are in.
(3) a) How is power related to authority? b) How can a project manager use power effectively?
a. Authority is the right to command and is generally granted based on one's position in the organizational hierarchy (pg. 105). Power is the ability or capacity to influence the actions or decisions of others without necessarily having formal authority (pg. 105). Having authority can give an employee power. For example, formal authority is just one of the means by which an individual can have some power and thereby influence others (pg. 105).
b. There may be some members in the organization who may not have very much formal authority but may have considerable power to influence because of their scarce and important specialized skills, high technical expertise, or ownership of the organization (pg. 105). A project manager has considerable power because a project manager has specialized skills in project management. These skills are not common in all employees which is why a project manager has expert power. A project manager can use this power to make sure projects complete successfully by delegating work to other employees effectively.
(4) What are some personal qualities that directly relate to reliability? Which ones do you think are most critical?
A recipient of authority and responsibility is said to be reliable when he or she is worthy of confidence and can be trusted (pg. 116). Someone who is reliable is self-disciplined and does not have to be forced to accept responsibility (pg. 117). I believe that the most critical quality is trust. Someone who is trusted has in the past demonstrated work that meets standards. Trust is not easily earned, it takes time to earn trust. Over years or months of quality work trust is built. Someone who is trusted will have a better chance of continuing the good work versus someone who is not.
(5) Define accountability in one sentence.
Accountability is acceptance of success or failure, assuming a liability for a task or something of value, having a serious conception of professional integrity and liability, Is having to answer to someone for actions performed, and reflects a measure of just how responsible project personnel are or have been.
(6) (12 points) Students in this course often indicate that they would like to improve their delegation skills. I came across an article that covers the basics pretty well and presents them in a clear and well organized manner. The article reference is:
Portney, Stanley E. (2002) The Delegation Dilemma: When Do You Let Go? The Information Management Journal, March/April, 2002, pages 60-64.
After reading the article answer the following questions:
6a) Which suggestion in the article would be most helpful to you in improving your delegation skills? (explain why)
Most helpful would be to define expectations clearly. I always concentrate on choosing the right person, but if I consider some other options it would be much more beneficial. I need to let employees know what I expect of them in order for them to have a goal in meeting my expectations. The article says to clarify the product expected, the time frame within which the work has to be done, and the level of effort and resources that can be expended on the task.
6b) The article identifies the “six degrees of delegation” on page 63. Discuss the one that is used most frequently at your company or that you are most familiar with.
I would say that the most frequent one is “Just go”. I am always put in a situation at work where I have to analyze the situation myself and then make my own decision on what to do. A lot of times management does not know my type of work or does not want to get fully involved because it would take them lots of time to figure it out. I have to deal with the situation given to me and if I don't do it correctly thats when management hears about it.
6c) Identify and discuss one concept in the article that is more advanced or more in-depth than the delegation material presented in chapter 4 of the text.
Concept of reverse delegation caught my attention. Reverse delegation says to beware of the person who accepts the assignment and then asks the delegator to make all major and minor decisions while the work is being performed. Reverse delegation happens because the level of delegation has been inadequately defined, too many ambiguities remain about what the person is supposed to produce, or the wrong person has been chosen for the assignment.