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Have you ever heard your president, secretary or committee member say, “I have too much on my plate – can’t get around to that”?

You may have heard your boss, or the general manager say, “I’m too busy”.

If you are a flat-out president or a snowed-under secretary, this information will remind you that your committee won’t collapse if you don’t do everything – no one is indispensable!

This resource highlights some common-sense steps to ensuring your workload will be lighter, that your group won’t have members who just ‘make up the numbers’ and that it will be seen as an effective team.


Delegation is giving a job to someone, defining the parameters for accomplishing the job, and giving the person the authority to get the job done. Thus, delegating is never dumping.

Why delegate?

  • To get the work done
  • To share the work load
  • To grow the club and grow the individuals that are a part of the club.

What should I delegate?

  • Jobs or responsibilities that someone can do better than you
  • Jobs that someone can do instead of you
  • Jobs that someone can do with better timing
  • Any job that will help the club and/or the individual grow and develop.

We all say it’s vital, so why don’t we do it? Do you hesitate to delegate for any of the following reasons?

  • “If you want something done right, do it yourself”
  • “There are too many problems in getting others to do it – might as well do it myself”
  • “I don’t like palming off the dirty work to others”
  • “I don’t like fronting up to people if they mess up a job I have given them”
  • “I don’t want to appear bossy”
  • “I like doing some things myself – I reckon I’ve earned the chance for recognition"
  • “It takes too long to explain how to do it. I just want to get on and do the job”
  • “I think you’re weak if you have to get others to do the job”.

Does delegation sometimes fail? Of course and it’s usually when we don’t prepare properly.

Delegation = proper preparation.

Here are steps you can follow to ensure that you prepare thoroughly before delegating:

Step 1

What precise job (or part of a job) do you want done? Define it clearly (ideally, write it down).

Step 2

What outcomes or results do you want? Identify them accurately.

Step 3

Pick the right person for the job. Consider the following:

  • Has the person got time? (However, don’t choose someone just because he or she has the time. This can be dangerous)
  • Has the person got ability? (Go back to the job description and see what kind of person is needed)
  • Can you appeal to the person's self-interest?
  • Can you identify a challenge for the person?
  • Can the person work with the rest of your team? Some people are enthusiastic, even very capable, but if they antagonise others on your team, they can be a menace.

Step 4

Having picked the right person:

  • explain the job clearly, avoiding torrents of words
  • don't underestimate the size of the job or, even worse, give the impression that it’s not important
  • check carefully that the person has understood you. This requires tact but it is essential.

Step 5

Wrap up the agreement:

  • Agree on the time for finishing all and/or each part of the job
  • Discuss and agree on the outcomes of the job
  • Find out if the person needs resources or help of any kind.

Step 6

  • Keep your eyes open!
  • Don't be a nag – but take a keen interest in progress
  • Ask precise questions, not, “Is it going well?”
  • e.g. How many? Who? Where?

Step 7

  • Review and reward!
  • Look at the successes and shortfalls
  • Identify the causes of the shortfalls (perhaps you didn’t delegate thoroughly!)
  • Try to give recognition – no matter how small.


Former IOC President, Juan Antonio Samaranch said “The cemeteries are full of people who thought they were indispensable.”  (The West Australian, 11 July 2001, p115)

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Page reviewed 11 September 2023