Delegation of duties and responsibilities is necessary for the well

well-being and the growth of any
organization. It has been proven,
throughout the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, that all entities (Conferences, Councils, Committees,
etc.) with leaders willing and able
to spread the wealth of work have
grown and prospered. The reverse
holds true for those who do not
share the load.
Some of the duties and responsibilities that should be delegated are: coverage of calls to be
taken; home visits to be made;
picking up of food allotments;
maintaining the pantry; recruitment of new members; coordination of special programs like
Christmas, back to school, food
drives, Easter programs, Conference social gatherings; attendance
at special events to represent the
Conference. The list does not end
Conference Presidents,
Council Presidents, Committee
Chairs — all have a responsibility
to keep their members involved.
Delegation is a key to making this
To Delegate or Not
To Delegate
The President should see
to it that every member of
the Conference is given a
sufficient amount of charitable work to perform, ensuring also that the various tasks are distributed
evenly among the members
and carried out in the spirit of the major objectives of
the Society.
(U. S. Manual, page 58)
The Spirit
A series published by
the Society of St. Vincent de Paul,
Diocesan Council of Phoenix
The purpose of this series is to provide
members of the Society of St. Vincent de
Paul advice from leadership throughout our
international organization to help members
grow in their vocation and ministry. If the
reader has any questions regarding the material presented, he/she may inquire at
Society of St. Vincent de Paul
Vincentian Support Services
P.O. Box 13600
Phoenix. AZ 85002-3600
(602) 261-6841
Society of
St. Vincent de Paul
Diocesan Council
of Phoenix
Many Conference Presidents share
a common trait. They have a tendency to believe they must do everything that needs to be done.
They believe that by doing everything they are setting a good example for others to follow. This
will encourage others to just pitch
in and help.
Actually, the opposite is
true. Studies have shown that, in
general, people will do only what
their leaders tell them to do. Occasionally you will find someone
who will step up and join in, but
that is not the norm. People are
very content to allow “someone
else” to do the work. In fact,
“someone else” is responsible for
95% of all work accomplished in
this world.
When a Conference President
takes on the task of doing all that
needs to be done, some unhealthy
things occur:
 If people believe that the
job is already being done,
they don’t have to do it.
This decreases initiative.
 If someone else is doing
the job, they lose ownership of the effort. In loss
of ownership, there is also
loss of support for the effort.
 If the President is doing
everything, almost no one
will want to be the next
 If the President is doing
everything, he/she will get
burned out pretty quickly.
 This can lead the President
to feel like he/she is alone
in this ministry.
 Members will drop out due
to a lack of things to do.
And, the list goes on and on.
The answer to this is delegation.
Delegation is more than just giving
someone something to do. Delegation requires good leadership
There are five qualities of a
good leader. The leader must have
a vision. In other words, the
goal/task must be clearly defined
in the leader’s own mind. The
leader must be able to communicate this vision to others — not
simply talk, but be understood.
The leader must see that others are
empowered — they must take
ownership of the goal as well as
the tasks that are necessary to
achieve the goal. The leader must
ensure that action takes place —
must get the process started. And
last, the leader must be content to
allow people to do things their
There are three degrees of
delegation: weak, moderate and
strong. An example of weak delegation is to simply throw the issue/problem/task out to all present
and ask if someone would like to
take this on. The normal result of
this is that everyone looks at everyone else hoping that “someone
else” will step forward.
Occasionally, someone will say,
“Yes, I’ll do it.” This is likely to
be someone who is already busy
with a lot of other projects. In
many cases, the President will end
up telling the group to “think about
it and we’ll talk some more at the
next meeting.” Then the President
gets it started.
An example of moderate
delegation is to describe the task
and look around the room. The
first person you make eye contact
with is the one you offer the job to.
Then, don’t take “no” for an answer. The problem here is that the
one assigned is not necessarily the
one best suited for the task.
Strong delegation is the best
method. In this form of delegation, the President of the Conference has taken the time to get to
know the members of the Conference. He understands what their
strengths and weaknesses are and
what type of tasks they are best
suited for. The President also
knows how to ask rather than
Delegation of duties and responsibilities is necessary for the