Lesson 49: Delegating Responsibility to Others

Young Women Manual 1, (2002), 215–17


Each young woman will understand the principles and steps involved in correctly delegating responsibilities to another person.


  1. 1.

    Bring paper and a pencil for each young woman.

  2. 2.

    Assign two young women to participate in the role play of the five steps of delegation (see the second section of the lesson).

  3. 3.

    Optional: You may wish to give each young woman a copy of the five steps of delegation to take home (see pages 216–17).

  4. 4.

    Assign young women to present any stories, scriptures, or quotations you wish.

Note to the teacher

You should be thoroughly familiar with and use the five steps of delegation described in this lesson. Because skills are learned through practice, most of the time should be given to the second section of the lesson.

Suggested Lesson Development

Delegation Is an Important Principle of Leadership


Ask the class members to close their eyes for a moment and picture in their minds a group of young women playing a team sport common to your area. Describe the actions of this team. For example: The captain has assigned the players, and each is playing her position. Each is playing well and following the captain’s instructions. They score, and they and the crowd are cheering and happy.

Now ask class members to imagine the same team beginning to play again. This time the captain fails to assign positions or to give specific instructions. The team members are confused as play begins, and they run in all directions. The captain is trying to play all the positions. She scores three times, but no one else has a chance to score.

Chalkboard discussion

Now have class members open their eyes and discuss the differences between how they would feel if they played on these two teams. List their responses on the chalkboard. Some of them might be as follows:

    Team 1

  • Responsible

  • Helping

  • Free

  • Happy

  • Chance to show what I can do

    Team 2

  • Disappointed

  • Wouldn’t want to play

  • Useless

  • Sad

  • Stifled

  • Which team would you rather play on? Why?

Teacher presentation

Point out that when we are in group situations where we feel useful and are able to make choices and contribute, we grow and feel happy. A team captain, committee chairman, or any leader who helps us have these feelings is making wise use of an important leadership principle. Ask the young women if they can name this principle. Write the word delegation on the chalkboard.

When we delegate, we share our work or responsibility with other people and give them authority to act for us.

Scripture quiz

Use the following scriptures to help the young women learn how the Lord applies the principles of delegation. Ask the questions one at a time, giving the appropriate scripture reference. Have class members find the scripture, read it silently, and tell how it answers the question.

Or, you could give the scriptural reference and have a scripture chase. Ask the question and let the girls try to find the answer from the scriptures. You could give clues if necessary.

  1. 1.

    What is our Heavenly Father’s work? (Moses 1:39)

  2. 2.

    With whom does he share this work? (John 6:38)

  3. 3.

    To whom did the Savior delegate authority? (Ephesians 4:11–12)

  4. 4.

    When someone delegates responsibility to us, what do we need to do? (D&C 107:99–100)

  5. 5.

    After the Apostles returned from their assignments, what did they do? What must we do? (Mark 6:30)

Explain that our Heavenly Father and the Savior consistently use the principle of delegation. This principle helps us grow, allows us to use our agency and talents, and requires us to take responsibility for our actions.

We Can Learn to Delegate Effectively by Using Specific Steps

Chalkboard and role play

Explain that we can all learn the principle of delegation and use it successfully. Ask the assigned class members to present the role play. Write each of the following steps on the chalkboard, and have the young women demonstrate them one at a time.

Step 1: Clearly define the assignment.

Class President: Ann, we have been concerned about the Beehives who are just coming into Young Women. We want to know them better and help them feel welcome and comfortable. We would like you to be in charge of a class activity to help our class get acquainted with these new girls. It has been scheduled for three weeks from now on the 28th.

Step 2: Describe the importance of the assignment and express confidence.

Class President: If the new Beehives don’t feel welcome and wanted, they may look for friends in other places. Ann, you have a special way of relating to people and getting things done. We know you can help us with an activity to make these girls feel wanted and comfortable.

Ann: [Responds favorably]

Step 3: Establish who will do what and when it will be finished.

Class President: The activity is only three weeks away. What do you think needs to be done, Ann?

Ann: [Responds naturally to the question]

Class President: Which of those do you think needs to be done first?

Ann: [Responds naturally]

Class President: How soon do you think you could do that?

Ann: [Responds naturally]

Class President: When should we have the other things done?

Ann: [Responds naturally]

Class President: Who can you ask to help you?

Ann: [Responds naturally]

Class President: What will you have each person do?

Ann: [Responds naturally]

Class President: Let’s both write that down so we won’t forget.

Step 4: Decide when you will follow up on the assignment.

Class President: I’ll check with you a week from today, and if anything changes or you need something before then, please let me know.

Step 5: Express encouragement and thanks.

Class President: Ann, I’m so pleased with your plans for the activity. I’ve heard the new Beehives talking, and they are really excited to come. I’m grateful for your work. When I ask you for help, I know I can depend on you.

Discuss questions or comments the young women might have. Emphasize the importance of step 3, letting the person suggest exactly what she will do by when. This is the person’s commitment to accept the responsibility. The leader needs to follow up carefully by continuing to ask what the person is doing and when the job will be done. Delegation can sometimes be misused if a person is simply trying to get out of doing her own work. It could also be misused if an assignment were delegated and the leader did not have the patience or trust to see it through and decided to do it herself. Caution the young women against such misuse.

Delegating Responsibility Can Be Helpful in Many Situations

Class activity in groups or pairs

Now that the young women have seen the role play, assign them to practice delegating responsibility to each other, using one of the following situations or others you might choose. Ask class members to follow the steps listed on the chalkboard.

  1. 1.

    Your class has been asked to read to a blind widow who lives in the ward. You are to go twice a week for one hour. Assign a class member to be in charge of this project and organize the visits.

  2. 2.

    A youth conference is planned for your area six weeks from now. The theme is “Let Me Soar.” Assign someone to be in charge of the publicity for this event.

  3. 3.

    You are the president of the school choir. There are four sections to the choir. The president is responsible for keeping track of the music—distributing, collecting, and making sure it is all there when the choir sings at other schools. Assign a member of the choir to devise a way to keep track of the music and to present her idea to the choir at the next practice.

  4. 4.

    You are the oldest child in your family. An emergency has come up, and your mother and father have left you for three days to be in charge of your three sisters—ages eight, nine, and twelve. You need time to study for midyear tests at school. How would you delegate the responsibility of getting meals, dishes, and other household chores done?

Observe as class members practice; give help as necessary. If time permits, one pair could demonstrate their assignment for the entire class. Let the young women suggest other situations (such as church, family, school, and job) where knowing how to delegate could be helpful.

Lesson Application

Give each young woman a pencil and a piece of paper. Have them list various responsibilities they have. Ask them to analyze their lists and see if they could use the principles of delegation with one of their responsibilities. Have them try to use the five steps during this week.