Learn the Art of Delegating
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If everybody in a family helps create the work, why shouldnt everybody join in
getting things done?
So long as one person works double time, however, few others are likely to pitch in and
Thats why delegating is important. Whether you are volunteering within a local
group, serving on a committee at work or dealing with a family situation, dividing large
tasks into smaller segments that can be shared is beneficial for everyone involved.
Dont let guilt feelings interfere with good intentions. If you find it difficult
to delegate, follow these suggestions:
- Define responsibilities clearly. Allow for individual differences in the way tasks are
done, but define requirements to provide consistency.
- Delegate complete segments of a task. Make sure others can see the end goal. Others may
lack motivation if they are asked to do only bits and pieces of a project.
- Give feedback. Be honest and accurate in your assessment. Emphasize what
went wrong, not who did something wrong. Praise efforts of family members and expect some
mistakes in the beginning.
- Set goals and performance standards. Discuss expectations and deadlines for particular
tasks. It may be helpful to write out responsibilities and deadlines.
- Provide support. Share your knowledge, information and plans. If special skills are
required, teach others or provide the means for them to learn them.
- Share decision making. Let others have a voice in the plan. If you ask your spouse to do
grocery shopping, let that person plan the schedule and decide if it is easier to go once
or twice a month.
- Let go of authority. Transferring authority to others allows a feeling of personal
success or failure. Perhaps the most difficult part of delegating is letting go.
- Remember to say "thank you". After a job is done, acknowledge the
accomplishments of others. Commend and encourage family members as they learn new
Karen Elliott, Karen.Elliott@oznet.ksu.edu
County Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
Johnson County, Kansas
Kansas State University Research and Extension