Effective Ministry Delegation
As a leader you will experience increasing demands on your time and resources making it more difficult to achieve your goals without the assistance of others. There are times when you will need to ask others to do things for you, whether it is answering your phone calls, sitting in on a meeting, or even taking over a project. In these circumstances, when you ask someone to help, you are really delegating part of your job to others.
The Benefits of Delegating
Delegation introduces many attractive possibilities. Your task now is to examine what this means for you, and for those people to whom you are likely to delegate.
- By delegating you are:
- freeing yourself up to do more important jobs in your schedule
- developing the skills of others
- making others’ roles more diverse or challenging
- assigning projects to people who are possibly better suited to the task
- demonstrating confidence in others.
- For those you are delegating to, this means:
- they get the chance to do things they wouldn’t normally do
- they start to take on new skills and responsibilities
- they have the opportunity to prove themselves
- they receive training and/or experience in new skills
- they become more involved and enriched by a variety of possibilities.
Working together, you and the people to whom the work is delegated can achieve a win/win outcome. This is particularly the case if delegation occurs in a positive and empowering way.
On the other hand, there are several misleading or wrong motives for delegating. These include delegating:
- to avoid a job you don’t like
- because you might not be capable of doing it
- due to sheer laziness or lack of commitment.
All of these reasons will foster distrust and lead people to feel put out or taken advantage of. This won’t encourage them to take on future delegated tasks willingly, and can cause them to lose any motivation to do the job well. Delegation should always be seen as a positive solution, not as a quick way to fix a problem.
Why Don’t You Delegate?
It is often very easy to justify why you don’t delegate, that is, why you take on the whole job or task by yourself. This is typically referred to as “loner” behaviour, which must be quickly overcome if delegation is to be successful. Consider whether you identify with the following feelings:
- You want to maintain the impression of being overworked
- You simply have too much to do and can’t make the time to delegate
- You enjoy the job so much, that it’s difficult to let go
- You believe that you’re indispensable
- You don’t entirely trust others
- You fear that your pride might be injured
- You impose unnecessarily high standards that others may fall short of
- You are concerned about burdening or overloading other people
- You fear others criticising you.
To give yourself a chance of succeeding at delegation, you need to enlist the help of people whom you can trust to do a good job. However, this is usually easier said than done. There is a high probability that people you might want to delegate to may also be busy doing their own work, and won’t appreciate being asked to do more. The challenge is to find ways to help them with their work or to seek out others who can do what you want done.
As a general guide, look for people who:
- do what they say – those that stick to their promises and commitments
- display competence – people who are good at what they do and don’t make a fuss about it
- are good team players – who support and help each other instead of focusing on themselves and their own agendas.
The less obvious people are often those who have the most potential to help. Those who go about what they do without making a fuss, or show interest in what others are doing by asking intelligent questions, or demonstrate good listening skills, may be good prospects for delegation.
When choosing jobs to delegate to others, look for those tasks that:
- others can do quicker, better or more effectively than you can
- are perhaps routine tasks that involve decision-making (to maintain interest)
- will give others a sense of satisfaction, or provide some scope for individuals to use their own initiative, rather than simply following a set procedure
- require expertise and skills that others possess
- require a high level of quality or carefully detailed work
- Might benefit from two heads rather than just one
Properly executed delegation presents an opportunity for you to get on top and will enable you to stay focused on God-given priorities. Make delegation a routine part of your leadership.
Colin is the Director of ResourceZone International. He has thirty years of ministry experience as a pastor, college lecturer and consultant/coach to consultants, denominational leaders and local church pastors. He can be reached at email@example.com
- Delegation Style Mini-Profile (Online)
- Effective Delegation: Skill Builder Booklet-Ministry Specific Resources (PDF)
- Effective Delegation: Coaching Guide with Storyboard- Ministry Specific Resources (PDF)
- Effective Delegation Storyboard- Ministry Specific Resources (PDF)
- Delegation: A Ready to Manage Coaching/Job Aid (PDF)