Delegating for Greater Success: A Chamber Pro's Guide to Growth

Chamber professionals wear many hats. From event planning to member advocacy to policy development, your days are a whirlwind of activity. But here's the secret: you don't have to do it all yourself—nor should you. It’s critical for your success, as well as the success of those around you, for you to master the art of delegation.

Delegation: The Key to Unlocking Your Potential

Delegation isn't a sign of weakness; it's a sign of a strong leader. To be an effective delegator, you need to first switch how you look at it. Delegating something to your staff or a volunteer isn’t about asking for help, or giving over something you can’t handle. It’s a way to grow an effective team and develop future leaders. By empowering your team and distributing tasks effectively, you can free up your time to focus on strategic initiatives that drive the chamber forward.

What Can Delegation Help You Do?

There are many benefits to delegating. Some of these include:

Freeing Up Time for Big-Picture Strategizing. Delegate routine tasks that many people can do. Dedicate your time to strategic planning, innovation, and long-term vision for the chamber. Those activities are what they hired you for and they can’t be delegated.

Empower Your Team. Delegation fosters ownership and growth within your team. Giving team members responsibility helps them develop new skills and increases their confidence. It can also be a way for you to audition them in a new role/responsibility. It may help them with career-pathing or discovering a new interest as well.

Boost Productivity. Often, team members can complete specific tasks more efficiently than you can, especially if they’re already doing something similar. For instance, if they’re already out at a member business, why not have them stop in at the member hosting your next Lunch and Learn to firm up details?

Delegation Done Right

Effective delegation is not about dumping work on someone lower in rank than you are. However, if you do it incorrectly, it can feel that way. Good delegation keeps efficiency at the forefront with “right person, right task” in mind.

To delegate effectively you will:

  • Choose Wisely. Match tasks to team members' strengths and skill sets. That way, the work is completed accurately and efficiently.
  • Communicate Goals & Expectations. Clearly define the task, desired outcome, deadline, and expectations. This avoids confusion and ensures everyone's on the same page.
  • Provide Resources & Support. This isn’t a dump-and-run activity. Don’t treat your project as a game of Hot Potato. Make sure your team member has the tools and resources they need to be successful. Offer training or guidance if necessary.​​
  • Empower Decision-Making. While setting goals, allow some room for decision-making by the person you’re delegating to. You want to foster ownership and initiative. That way, your staff member feels invested in the project and outcome, not like they’re doing it for you as a favor.
  • ​Offer Feedback & Recognition. Provide constructive feedback throughout the process. Recognize team members' efforts and accomplishments to cultivate a culture of trust and accountability. What may start as assistance could turn into a new responsibility or even a new job title.

Delegation Without Guilt—Owning Your Leadership Style

Again, if you’re feeling guilty you need to reframe your thoughts on delegation. One of the main reasons chamber execs feel guilty about delegating is because they only see the work, not the opportunity. They feel like they are handing over their responsibility to a junior person on the team who is also busy but can’t say no. It can feel like an abuse of power.

But it shouldn’t.

It’s a way of fostering trust and contributing to the growth of your team. If you feel guilty delegating, remember:

  • ​You're not micromanaging – you're providing guidance and support and a new opportunity.
  • You're not abandoning responsibility – you're empowering your team.
  • Delegation is a sign of trust and confidence in your team's abilities.
  • You won’t be at the chamber forever. You need to cultivate leaders and teach others how they can serve your members.
  • Some things require your attention. If you can’t get to them because you are bogged down by other tasks and activities, you need to give ownership of those to someone else.
  • Your employee or volunteer may be looking for something new. They might not feel challenged, valued, or useful. A new project may give them that feeling of accomplishment they need to continue with the chamber. Additionally…
  • Your dislike might be their dream job. You may hate social media, for instance, but the idea of posting for the chamber may be your staffer’s dream. You could be delegating something your team member has wanted to do for a long time.

Why Delegation Makes You a Better Leader

Some people think delegation is weakness and the sign of a poor leader. People like leaders who get their hands dirty, not those who command from a high hill. Some see delegating as that. However, delegation makes you a more effective leader. Servant leaders and those in the trenches, delegate all the time because they understand the importance of cultivating future leaders for their chamber.

Effective delegation fosters a strong, capable team, which is a hallmark of good leadership. It allows you to focus on your strengths as a leader – inspiring, motivating, and guiding others. Delegation also demonstrates trust in your team, a cornerstone of a healthy work environment.

How to Master the Art of Delegation

We say it’s an “art” because how you frame it will not only impact your interest in doing it but also the reception it gets from the person who you’re asking to perform the task or project.

Stop Apologizing

First, don’t stop by their desk with a sad look on your face and ask for “a favor” or make apologies for the work. Does your board apologize when they ask for a report? While you may not feel like it is your team member’s job and that’s why you’re apologizing, you are all working together for the success of the business community and that of the chamber. Don’t apologize for giving them something that is going to help them be a larger part of contributing to that success.

Find Out What Your Team (Or Volunteers) Like

Before you even begin thinking about delegation or streamlining your operations (because that’s what delegation is), find out what your team likes to do. Do you have someone on staff who loves social media? Loves to write? Enjoys meeting new people? Knowing how they like to work and what kinds of things they’re passionate about can help you figure out the perfect match between projects and positions.

Achieve Balance

Delegation reallocates resources—something successful businesses do all the time. It can also change your relationship with your team. You’ll start having more conversations about how you can support and assist them in being more successful. It can bring out the mentorship/coach part of your role as a leader and can help them take on more leadership and ownership of the project they’re now in charge of.

This new relationship also provides them with an example of how they might effectively lead and coach someday. After all, we often learn by watching modeled behavior.

Understand Different Ways to Delegate

There are several ways to delegate and which one you use will depend on the work you’re delegating and the team you have in place. There’s task delegation, which is when you assign individual, specific tasks to team members. Additionally, there’s project delegation when you entrust ownership of a complete project to a team member or committee, but they still report in (like your nominating committee for board members). Finally, there’s authority delegation where you grant decision-making authority within specific parameters as you might for someone taking over an event (as long as they remain on budget).

By mastering the art of delegation, you can free up your time for mission critical activities, empower your team, and unlock the chamber's full potential for growth. Embrace delegation as a tool for success, not a way of “dumping” your work on others. When you make that mental switch, you’ll position your team for greater outcomes.


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