How to Delegate as a PTO Leader

How to delegate as a PTO leader and be a stronger leader.  on a desktop with gold desk accessories and a black notebook.

One thing I know for sure is that as a PTO leader, there’s pretty much always more on your plate than time to do it.  

So what are the options to manage?  

Procrastinating and putting yourself in a time crunch is one way to cope.  

Throwing your arms up in despair is another.  Both are sucky options for sure, entirely dysfunctional methods that hurt you and your PTO.  So what’s left?  

The fine art of delegation!  

I’m going to do a deep dive into everything you need to know about delegating as a PTO leader.

Why Delegate?

First, let’s talk about why you should delegate PTO projects!  

Would you be surprised if I said that there were a whole bunch of benefits to delegating?  

Maybe even some you didn’t realize at first blush?  It’s true!

Benefits to You

Yup, delegation allows you to pull some tasks and responsibility away from you.  

Along with that comes less stress.  It also gives you more time to focus on your area of genius.  

This’ll free you up to handle tasks that only YOU can do.  Cheers to less off of your plate!

Benefits to Others

Delegating also allows other PTO members to develop skills and get a taste of what it’s like to have your role.  

And this benefit is actually super crucial for your PTO because of the many things it does for them, personally.

When you delegate to others, you make them feel more important.  

And that makes it more likely they’ll stick around as a volunteer for your PTO.

You also increase their confidence and empower them.  Again, they’ll stick around!

And finally, you also let them know that they, too, can step up into a larger role in your PTO!  

And that leads to something perhaps a little unexpected…

Benefits to Your PTO

With increased confidence, they’re more likely to say yes when asked to step up into a PTO leadership role.

In other words, delegation makes it easier to get more leaders for your PTO!  Huzzah!

This is the name of the PTO game, right?  

Effectively managing your PTO to encourage others to step up and lead.  PTO gold!

But wait, I know what you’re probably thinking…

Common objections to delegation

I could do it faster.

Yes, this is totally true, but that’s not the point at all.  

Focus on the end goal of letting someone else take care of the task and not how they’re getting there.

After all, if someone else is taking care of something you’d otherwise have to do, it’s still off of your plate.

And think back to the very first time you did the task.  

It most definitely took you longer to do it then as compared to now.  

Your way may or may not be the best way to do it. #egocheck

I’d love to delegate, but I don’t have time for that.  I can do it better and in less time than it takes to explain!

Well, this is true, but if you explain it right and you delegate to the right person, you’ll only ever have to explain it once!  

And then the other person can handle it for you from here on out.

The real key is picking the right project, the right person and the right method of delegation to make it all work.  

That’s what the rest of this post is going to cover!

Ok, I’ve convinced you, right?  So onwards!

When to Delegate?

When’s the best time to delegate?  

It’s kinda like chocolate!  

Anytime is a good time.  

Especially when something’s not your strength, delegate it away!

Likewise, if you don’t have time to do the project, then you should aim to get someone else to take care of the task.  

But keep in mind the timeline and deadline of the project.  

No way is it fair to delegate something when the deadline is looming!

Also consider if it is a task that should be delegated.  

There are totally some tasks that absolutely shouldn’t be delegated: tasks that have to be done immediately, for example.  

Or times when you won’t be available to answer questions and check in on progress.

When deciding if a task should be delegated or not, consider how much failure would kill your PTO.  

If failure to succeed with the project really would totally kill your group or potentially harm your group substantially, then that’s your sign to retain control and not delegate this responsibility.

For example, as PTO President, you probably shouldn’t delegate the periodic meetings with your building Principal.  

Having a strong relationship with your Principal is crucial to your success as a PTO President and more largely for the PTO as a whole.  Not a good candidate for delegation.

Who Should You Delegate To?

The ideal candidate for task delegate depends on a few qualities of the person.  Look for someone who:

  • Works well independently;
  • Is killed in the project area;
  • Is interested in learning more;
  • And has the capacity to take on the project.

If there’s no single candidate suitable to delegate to project to, then consider forming a committee to handle.  

Get someone capable to lead the committee and let them coordinate the committee members to see the project through to completion.

How to Delegate?

Be clear about the desired outcome.  In other words, know the goal!

Clearly identify the boundaries and constraints.  

It should be crystal clear about what they can do and what they can’t do.

  • Should they wait to be told what to do or take independent action?
  • Are you expecting them to make a recommendation and then act?
  • Or can they act, and report right away or should they check in with you periodically?

When all of these boundaries are clearly defined, you’re increasing the likelihood of delegation success.  

Likewise, you’re decreasing the chances of miscommunication and frustration.

For example, any PTOs have in their bylaws that only the President has the authority to sign contracts.  

Make sure the person knows the fine, but essential details like that.

Note, you should never delegate things where you have the ultimate accountability on the matter.  

That’s something you should handle yourself.

Another common mistake when it comes to delegating is the temptation of taking back the project.  

If there are questions, reverse the tiles and ask the person for their suggested solutions.  

Resist the temptation to assume control of the project.  If there’s a problem, give suggestions.  

Ask what their solutions are.  

But don’t leave them high and dry on their own to figure it out.

You can build motivation and commitment by publicly recognizing efforts by members who’ve taken on delegation projects.  

Recognizing them at meetings or on social media can be a nice way to shine the spotlight on them.

Bottom line: Be clear about what’s being delegated along with the the desired outcome and the overall goal.  

You must meet in person to explain the project, and carve out time going forward to answer questions and periodically check in to see progress.

Want even more on this topic?

Watch this!

Posted in PTO Officers and Leaders, Volunteers + Parent Involvement and tagged , .

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