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February 02, 2016

The Art of Delegation: Getting the Most Out of Your Staff

As race directors and event organizers, you’re the one running the show. You’re the one in CHARGE. You’re making things happen. This event is on YOUR shoulders.  And... you’re a bit of a control freak.

Don’t get mad, you know it’s true! People who end up in this career NEED to be insanely type-A in order to be successful. Your inner control freak is actually one of the KEYS to your success.

But every good race director or event organizer knows that no matter how type-A, organized and on point they are, they can’t do it alone. They need to delegate things out to their team.

But how do you delegate effectively to get the most of your staff?



People are motivated for a number of reasons - and believe it or not, money is towards the bottom of the list.

Understanding WHY your team is motivated will help you understand HOW to delegate to inspire their best work.

For example: Let’s say you have to schedule bib assignment for 2 separate events. You are going to schedule the project to Sally for event #1 and Bobby for event #2.

Sally’s main motivator is autonomy and independence. She HATES being micro-managed and works best when people trust her to get things done HER way. So to delegate to Sally, you would be most successful in giving her the project, setting a deadline and letting her run with it.

But Billy’s main motivator is positive reinforcement. He needs a lot of encouragement and for his supervisors to let him know when he’s doing a good job. So to delegate to Billy, you’d be most successful by giving him the project, following up regularly with feedback and celebrating minor successes along the way.

Same task, totally different delegation style. Understanding your team, what motivates them and what makes them feel successful is going to go a long way in getting the best work from your people.



Just as important in HOW you delegate is WHAT you delegate. In order to get people’s best work, you need to delegate the right tasks to the right people.

You want to play to people’s strengths. If you have someone who’s great with people, have them manage race participants. If you have someone who is a whiz with computers, put them in charge of the online race registration portal. Got a great writer? Put them on your social media accounts.

Playing to people’s strengths and setting them up for success is going to get you high quality work, every time.

On the flip side, delegating the wrong tasks to the wrong people is going to be a total nightmare. Don’t put someone you know has zero patience in charge of your customer service, or someone who couldn’t find their way out of a paper bag if you gave them directions in charge of mapping out your course. Not only will you clearly be unsuccessful in getting what you need done, you’re also going to completely demotivate your team.



I know this can be a tough one, but once you delegate something to your team, you need to take a step back, chill out and let them do their thing. No one likes someone breathing down their neck.

So instead of sending daily emails asking what the race registration looks like or if that bib assignment is set up yet, have scheduled project deliverables and then TRUST YOUR TEAM to get the work done.

Trusting your team and giving them the space to do their job is going to motivate them to do their best work. If they feel like you’re constantly nagging them and telling them what to do, all you’re going to do is annoy them.


Delegation is truly an art form, and it takes pushing your inner control freak to the side and giving your team a chance to step up and do the work that needs to be done to make your event amazing. We know it’s tough, but mastering this skill is KEY to taking your event to the next level.

And let’s be honest… do you REALLY want to be spending your time figuring out how many volunteers you need at each water station? Or assigning bib numbers to your athletes?

...We didn’t think so.

If you’re interested in getting rid of some major race day tasks so you have less to delegate to your team, then check out imATHLETE’s race registration services - let us do the heavy lifting for you!



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