Empowerment, Positive Reinforcement and the Art of Delegation

It doesn’t take long for the PM to become overwhelmed by tasks and responsibilities on a project and it doesn’t take long for team members’ to become accustomed to shirking theirs if not held accountable. Conversely, a well-managed project can leave the PM feeling like a proud coach watching their team participate in a sport with success. Through encouragement and practice the team has perfected their roles as individuals and gelled as a team to reach a goal.  Additionally, the empowered team member not only will perform at a higher level but will eagerly and proactively work to help the team succeed.

Many project managers choose to dole out and track action items like task masters and follow up with foreshadowed and direct consequence. While the delegation of responsibly is a key part of the PM job description, it must be preceded by and in concert with empowerment and positive reinforcement.

At the root of a project team are the Individuals. At a micro level, each of these team members may be carefully selected for their skills and personality traits. But at a macro level, your baseline assumption should be that each of your teammates whether assigned or selected have a desire to succeed and be praised. It is within this core trait where you as the PM will find overall project success or lack thereof and it is as critical of a core job responsibility as task delegation for you to elicit this innate desire within the team to perform.

If done early, often, and well this positive reinforcement cycle of empowerment will lead to a well distributed workload within your team and overall success of your project. You are not a task master. Your teammates are not slackers. Consequences are poor motivators. Empower your team to be great and praise them when they succeed.

Do you believe this can be done at a Project level as effectively or more so than at an Organizational level?

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