[image from Matheus Van Lobatos, flickr artist](http://www.flickr.com/photos/71428207@N00/)
image by Matheus Van Lobatos, flickr artist

as i see it (t_hat sounds familiar [looks at blog title] oh yeah!…), there’s one rule of management which trumps them all. it’s what i like to call _“the frank sinatra rule.” it’s very simple. it says: “if you’re going to delegate, be sure that you delegate all the way.” many managers struggle with this key capability. people in power want to have all the power, but share the responsibility.

quite frank-ly (see what i did there?) — that situation is hardly ever going to work.

when you delegate, there has got to also be a delegation of authority as well as responsibility. if you don’t empower those folks underneath of you to make their own decisions, then you’ve only come half-way. not to mention, from a strictly business and financial perspective, you’re paying someone many thousands of dollars to be a “deputy project manager” or “functional lead” when you could have saved that money and gotten yourself an administrative professional or intern at a far lesser cost to handle things like scheduling meetings and organizing status reports.

the whole reason that you’ve appointed someone to a management role is because you are in some way overburdened. how do you lessen your burden without also lessening the amount of decisions that you need to make? the president of a corporation doesn’t make all the decisions. that’s why he or she appoints CEOs and CIOs and CFOs and CMOs and so on. why? because the president says, “i’ve got enough to think about without having such issues of ‘which web browsers do we allow our employees to install on their work machines?’ to deal with.” no work would ever get done if the president, chairman, or majority stock holder(s) had to make every single decision for the company. and there’s no reason that this dynamic should change in a project setting (with such a similar hierarchy of authority).

if you put people in charge of some kind of functional area but still wish to call the shots, what it’s really saying is that you don’t have trust in that person to make the proper decisions. and if you don’t have trust in the person/people whom you’ve appointed, what you’re really saying is that you don’t have trust in yourself, in your own ability to recognize talent and make good decisions about the people surrounding you. in either case — that you don’t wish to relinquish control, or that you don’t trust in your own people — it reflects rather poorly on you as someone who is confident and able to lead whatever project is at hand.

so when you delegate, don’t just put people in charge to handle administrative tasks and report back to you. when you delegate, be sure to pick the right people — then allow them to make their own choices. when you delegate, follow the frank sinatra rule, and do it all the way.