Leading by Delegating
As a leader of an association, a board member’s time is valuable, so it’s important that it’s spent efficiently. A critical skill board members need to create time in their busy schedule is delegating, said Steve McClatchy, president of Alleer Training & Consulting. By delegating certain non-core tasks to others, board members can make time to focus on charting the course of the association. McClatchy offered the following tips on what to delegate and what to delete, so you can make time to lead.

Letting Go. Board members are often experts in their field who have achieved success by excelling at certain aspects of their profession. However, a trap board members often fall into is continuing to do certain things just because they do them well. “People say, ‘if you want something done right you have to do it yourself.’ This is not always true. Sometimes the task can be done better by someone else,” said McClatchy. Board members need to consider the opportunity cost of their time and the value of their effort if invested elsewhere. A board member may have to train, coach and mentor someone to do the task as well as them, but that time is well spent. “It’s a process of letting go and growing the association from the inside out, cultivating competencies that can result in becoming better and faster in the long run,” McClatchy said.

Deleting. Deleting is just as important to creating time as delegating. “If you’re doing something that is not adding as much value as it costs in time or resources, then delete it,” said McClatchy. We often add systems and processes and forget to delete the old ones. If a meeting has stopped adding value, cancel it. If a report is no longer adding value to the association, don’t require it. If a task that has always been a part of the organization is no longer worth its weight, delete it. Delegating that unnecessary task will only result in a waste of time and resources for someone else.

Think Big. It’s human nature — people tend to focus first on the tasks that have deadlines and consequences, and then second on the tasks with long-term benefits. McClatchy noted that the problem is they run out of time and don’t get to the latter. That can be incredibly limiting. For example, thinking big, thinking strategically and thinking long term don’t typically have immediate consequences. So, if you’re constantly focused on solving the problems of today, those with deadlines and consequences, you’re not being as strategic as you could be or should be. The consequences of that could be significant, so you need to carefully make and preserve time for tasks with long-term benefits.

Delegation is a learned skill. Taking the time to master it is one of the most important decisions a board member, as a leader of the association, can make. If you’re properly delegating, you’ll have more time to lead
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