Leadership Skill: Delegation

As a leader you will find yourself in seasons where the load is too great for you alone to handle. Sometimes it's because of the blessing of ministry growth. Perhaps it's the result of an unforeseeable event or crisis. Or, it might be due to personal issues. These times call for the assigning of some of your normal responsibilities to other people -- delegation, a skill you need to master.
If you don't delegate, you will tend to focus on the higher priority or immediate needs. Lower priority or routine work will tend to get pushed to the side or be accomplished with minimal quality. If left undone, those tasks usually build up and become overwhelming and more stressful when you finally do get to them. If done poorly, you might find yourself later needing to redo them, taking up more of your time.

Basis for Delegating

Theological Basis:
God designed the Church to be interdependent, with everyone working for the greater good. God never intended for one person to do it all. If you are overworked and doing something someone else can do, don't let pride keep you from asking for help. Give others opportunity to participate.
Practical Basis:
Good comes out of delegation. Leaders are freed up to do higher priority tasks without feeling guilty about tasks being left undone, or half-done, resulting in greater effectiveness and the prevention of burnout. Others are provided with opportunities to grow and develop as they gain experiences they might not normally have and can know they made a contribution to the greater good.
Relational Basis:
People feel valued and needed, like you trust them to come along side of you. They feel as though they are a part because their contribution matters.

How You Delegate Matters

Leaders must be careful that the way they delegate doesn't counteract the basis for and good in delegating. Otherwise, you are expressing doubt in God's design, holding on to stress and anxiety, and making people feel they aren't trusted.
Two pitfalls to avoid:
  • maintaining too much control
  • not providing enough accountability
How to avoid the pitfalls:
  1. First analyze your situation.
    What tasks can be delegated and what type of gifting or skill level should be in the person to do them?
  2. Choose people wisely.
    Who is the best person for the job?
  3. Sufficiently train or orient the person.
    What does the person need to succeed at the task?
  4. Adequately communicate parameters in advance.
    What level of authority does the person have to make decisions about the task?
  5. Build predetermined evaluation and feedback into the process.
    When and how are they to report on the progress they are making or receive help they might need?
  6. Express appreciation and affirm the person.
    How can you support the person throughout the process?

When you do all of the above, you shouldn't need to micro-manage. People will know your expectations and desires for them to succeed and have the tools to complete their responsibilities, minimizing frustration and misunderstanding for both the leader and person to whom the task was delegated.
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