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Delegating Responsibility
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How can you help people in your organization prepare for future leadership roles and free up more time in your own schedule so you can do other things? DELEGATION. Delegation is the key to a successful organization. Sharing responsibilities keeps members interested and enthusiastic about the group. You may be reluctant to delegate because you want to make sure the job is done right (your way). They might take longer to accomplish the task than you doing it yourself. It will also help your health while improving the quality of the end project. But you can make members feel unimportant and become apathetic if you don't share the responsibility of making the organization a success.

Reasons to Delegate 

Group benefits:
  • Members become more involved and committed
  • More projects and activities are undertaken
  • A greater chance that projects will be completed
  • Increased opportunities for members to develop leadership skills
  • Chance to fill leadership roles with qualified, experienced people
  • The organization operates more effectively
Leader benefits:
  • Not being spread too thin and therefore is less likely to burn out
  • Gaining satisfaction from seeing members grow and develop
  • Acquiring more experience in executive and administrative functions

An Appropriate Time To Delegate Is When:

  • There is a lot of work
  • A member has particular qualifications for or interest in a task
  • Someone can benefit from the responsibility
  • Routine matters need attention
  • Details take up too much time and have to be divided

The Time Not To Delegate Is When:

  • The task is something you would not want to do (menial work)
  • Someone is under qualified or overqualified for the task
  • The work is your own specified responsibility
  • The area is big or is an unsolved problem, issue or matter dealing with the personal feelings of another or with confidentiality - the "hot potato"

Ways to Delegate:

  • Ask for volunteers by a show of hands or pass a sign-up sheet for a particular project. (Interest is a great motivator!) However, this method can be impersonal and you could get "stuck" if none signs up.
  • Appoint or suggest someone. Sometimes a member lacks self-confidence and won't volunteer; appointing him/her demonstrates your confidence in them.
  • Assign through a committee. This takes the pressure off an individual and reinforces organizational structure.
  • The "best fit" of person with the task is the most effective. Try to spread the enjoyable and responsible tasks around, giving more members status and value.

Guidelines for Effective Delegation:

  1. Choose the appropriate people by interviewing and placing your members carefully. Consider his/her time, interest and capabilities. Specific responsibilities to be delegated to a particular person must be appropriate for the growth of that person at that time.
  2. Explain why they were selected for this task.
  3. Delegate segments that make sense; not bits and pieces of a task, but share the "big picture". People like to know how their segment will help the larger program.
  4. Discuss the task at hand. Discuss ideas; mutually set goals and objectives.
  5. Whenever possible, give those who will be responsible for carrying out a program a voice in the decision-making. Do not lower standards; don't insult your members!
  6. Define clearly the responsibilities being delegated to each person. Explain what is expected of them and what the bounds of authority are. Be sure an agreement is reached on areas where the person can function freely. The end result is important, not the various steps. Everyone accomplishes tasks differently.
  7. Find out how you will know when they need help. Make sure they understand you are willing to assist but must first be told when and how you can help. Give accurate and honest feedback. People want and deserve to know how they are doing. This is both an opportunity for giving satisfaction and encouraging growth. Allow for risk-taking and mistakes.
  8. Support your officers and committee chairs by sharing information, knowledge and plans with them. It is incredible how many errors are made simply due to a lack of information. Share in their failures as well as their successes.
  9. Delegate. Most responsible people do not appreciate someone looking over their shoulder, or taking back parts of their assignment before they have a chance to do it. As a leader, it can be hard for you to "let go;" you like being in the driver's seat. Let them do the job! Delegating does not eliminate work, it simply changes it. As you delegate appropriately, a multiplier effect occurs.
  10. Follow up. Check periodically to see if people have any questions regarding how a project is supposed to be done. This will also let you know how that individual is progressing on the task. There is a fine line between delegating and following-up.
  11. Evaluate. You must not overlook the need to evaluate and measure the extent to which actions conformed to plans, if the plans went well or if the original plans were appropriate and worthwhile. Use appropriate feedback techniques. One of your most important roles as a leader is to help your members to learn and grow through both their successes and their failures! Your members are your greatest resource. Let them create and turn their creativity interaction!