• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

“Delegating” Questions

I have been thinking a lot about a recent post by Anthony Bell in his “Leadership Quickbrief” where he shares this thought about delegating and empowerment:

To get to empowerment, think of delegation as primarily a development tool. 

If your primary motivation in delegating is to develop the people you are leading, you will end up leading not only a highly motivated team, but also a meaningfully empowered team.

Some Questions to Ask Yourself

  • What am I doing now that someone else could do instead of me?
  • What would it take for that person to come to an adequate level of proficiency?
  • What am I doing now that, if delegated, would provide an opportunity for growth and development?
  • What fears are driving my reluctance to delegate?
  • What tasks can I delegate that would actually advance the purpose and vision of the organization? How would it do so? 

These questions certainly deserve well thought out answers.  However, these questions should also cause us to consider how to reorganize our ministries so as to develop others by first delegating to others.

7 Responses

  1. On a different, but similar note, asking someone to do something is often, if not always, the best way to advance your relationship with them We find many reasons not to do this, not least of which is that we don’t want to be seen as inappropriately dependent, but the fact remains, God has put us in the Body as members with one another and interdependence requires us to actively contribute and use the total resources of the Body to accomplish Christ’s work in the world.

    • I was fascinated by Bell’s comments as to why delegating is difficult for us. Two of the reasons he cites are:
      • It takes more time to explain what needs to be done than to just do it myself
      • What if, heaven forbid, they do a better job than I would?

      It’s always that first step to ask someone to do something for you, to actually turn something over to someone else to do, which is the hardest for us. It strikes at our own prideful desire for value through what we do. The Gospel should push us in another direction.

  2. I firmly believe that delegation can be a powerful development tool and means of empowerment! We’ve seen it happening here in WT CamSouth the last couple of years and it’s exciting. With no one able to commit full time to field leadership, we’ve been using a shared leadership model. Various responsibilities have been delegated to different leadership team members in their areas of strength. The FD has been encouraging and empowering everyone to play their part, resulting in a number of people developing their skills to a higher level.

    Some key factors to make it work:
    – Trust! (Can’t delegate and then micromanage)
    – Encouragement
    – Training if needed
    – Time & resources available for the person who gets the delegated responsibility
    – Clear communication about responsibilities and limits of those responsibilities
    – Follow-up and accountability

    • This is a great example of delegating being worked out in a team context. Thanks! Do you have an example of how this happens in a ministry context?

      • Yes, we’ve been working hard the last two years to develop the Oroko Bible translators to a level where they can manage most of the project on their own. The step I would add to the above list is 1) Identify individual gifts/strengths. In addition, the “train” step is not just a simple workshop – it’s an ongoing, time-intensive, hands-on process.

        A little over two years ago, we helped the translators identify their strengths and then began to delegate certain parts of the translation process to them according to those strengths. We went from working in two teams which each always included a missionary advisor to working in several groups (exegesis, drafting, proofreading, revising, misc. projects), often without an advisor present. Productivity skyrocketed! And so did our workload as we had to do further training with the translators in each of these areas and then follow-up with quality checks! The translators have grown a lot in what they are able to do without us, people are working more effectively in their area of skill, they are taking responsibility & leading more and more of the process. Delegation has certain translated into development and empowerment. But, it hasn’t been easy in terms of time or energy! In the long run, however, it is very worthwhile.

        A final note: Translation is very task-oriented so a lot of what I’ve described is training to DO specific tasks. However, the same principles should apply if training people in people-related ministry. After teaching and showing people how to minister, we need to give them a chance to try it. And then, we need to be willing to step back and let them take it over. Finally, we need to follow-up and help with additional training until they’re doing it well.

      • Lisa, this is excellent. Any chance I could use this as a post to share as an example of how “delegating” gets worked out? I appreciated your addition of “identifying individual strengths and gifts” to the training piece.

      • Lisa, I’d like to use this in mobilization to demonstrate our vision and values in action.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: