Why You Should Be Delegating | Track It Forward

Why You Should Be Delegating

Written by James McBryan

As a volunteer leader, it may feel like the success or failure of your organization rests solely on your shoulders. Maybe it seems like the only way to ensure that everything gets done correctly is for you to do everything.

However, by not learning how to appropriately delegate tasks you end up creating a void.

Delegating is a crucial skill to learn in a leadership position. Jeffrey Pfeffer, the Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business reiterates that sentiment. He says, “Your most important task as a leader is to teach people how to think and ask the right questions so that the world doesn’t go to hell if you take a day off”.

By not delegating, you’re also creating an environment where volunteers feel like they’re not needed because you handle everything yourself. As a leader, no one will ever come up to you and say, “You’re doing too much, let me help out”. If you’re taking a lot on, others are just going to assume that you have it all figured out and they’d just slow you down.

But it’s actually not more efficient to just do things yourself. If you want the future of your organization to be successful, you need to let volunteers and volunteer organizers fend for themselves, otherwise they’ll never learn what they need to do.

After brainstorming with our team and receiving feedback from our community, this is what we found to be the best practices in learning how to delegate:

Create Roles Where Volunteers Can Grow

You want your volunteers to be involved and engaged with your organization. Creating volunteer roles where volunteers have the opportunity to grow into their role and move up the leadership ladder is crucial in ensuring that they gain valuable leadership skills they’ll need to develop in the case that you can’t pick up a project.

Play to Their Strengths

By going to members and asking for help with tasks you know they’re good at will, you’ll make them feel more appreciated. If they feel appreciated, they’ll be more willing to help in the future. Once they have a stake in the success of your organization, they’re going to be more active in working to see it succeed, and they’ll continue to increase their aptitude for these tasks.

The Importance of Clear Instructions

You may think that it’s obvious how to get easy tasks done. However, what you may think is obvious may not be obvious to your volunteers. Including straightforward instructions when you delegate tasks will avoid any communication gaps, allowing the tasks not only to be completed how you want, but also get done quicker.

Give Updates

Giving updates to volunteers so they know what you’re working on and why you’re working on it will cause your volunteers to be more engaged and allow them to feel like they’re a contributing member to the organization. No one feels part of something when they’re left in the dark.

Let Go

It’s important to learn how to let go. Yes, it feels hard to let go of your own work or projects you feel passionate about. But by not delegating, you’re refusing to let other people help. Start by delegating small tasks and work your way up to larger projects.

Delegating is challenging no matter what profession you’re in. You might feel like you know how to do things better and that by taking it all on yourself, you’re making it easier for your organization. However, in reality, by putting everything on one person’s shoulders, you’re neglecting the other members, and they’ll become disengaged as a result.

Delegating is a delicate art, but learning how to do it properly will create trust between you and volunteers, ultimately leading to a more efficient and happier organization.