The email every leader should write

Donna Crilley Farrell will be the first to tell you: She couldn’t do it all by herself.

As executive director of the World Meeting of Families, Farrell was in charge of the organization’s much-anticipated conference in Philadelphia in 2015. The special guest? Pope Francis.

Farrell expected crowds of up to 1.5 million people over the weekend of September 25-27. The highlight was a Sunday Mass outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

That’s why, in an interview with CBS, Farrell said she had nearly 10,000 volunteers ready to help — and she needed each and every one. According to, the event was expected to bring in people from 150 nations, 5,000 buses, and 5,000-7,000 journalists.

No way one person could handle a gathering of this size and scope.

By now, Farrell must have mastered the art of delegating, a critical leadership quality. Rather than control every aspect of the Pope’s visit, Farrell put her faith (no pun intended) in others to make the weekend a success. In doing so, she elevated her reputation because she allowed people to improve their own leadership and organizational skills.

Are you a “rising star” at your job or an organization outside of work? To cement your “leader” status, use this email template and let others show what they can do.

Leaders don’t bask in the spotlight. They prefer to let others shine.

Better yet, tell people in a face-to-face conversation you want them to “step up.” It’ll mean the world.


Hi _,

Thanks for all of your efforts so far with/at [name of company/organization]. You’ve been a huge help as we [however the person pitched in and be specific; for instance, “worked the phones during our recent pledge drive. You were relentless as you called donor after donor”].

I think you would be great as [the role or position you want the person to fill; for instance, “our new vice president of fundraising. We have elections coming up in October, and I’d like to nominate you”].

I know you’ll bring passion to the job and would be committed to the cause. Think about the opportunity, and let me know if you want to talk further.

Thanks again,

– Your first name

A couple of key points about the email template:

1. Reference exactly how the person impressed you (ex: “worked the phones during our recent pledge drive”). It makes your request more sincere.

2. Use the line “I think you would be great” If you’re a leader in the company/organization, it would mean so much for others to know you admire their work ethic.

More: A Smarter Way to Connect with People on LinkedIn

Farrell told CBS at the time: “As you may have heard, we will [be] doubling the population of Philadelphia on the weekend of September 26th and 27th.”


And so the delegating began.

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