4 Keys for Healthy Delegation

How to successfully delegate and empower your team

Even a potential control freak leader like me knows healthy delegating actually improves the organization. Healthy delegation is critical to effective leadership, but I know so many leaders who struggle to delegate. I think simple works, so I years ago I identified four easy steps to healthy delegation.

Perhaps you are wondering how you could delegate when the church holds you responsible for getting things done. Or, how can you let go when doing so makes us sometimes feel so out of control?

I often say there are three underlying reasons a leader doesn’t delegate.

Pride. They don’t think someone else can—as well as them.
Selfishness. They don’t want someone else getting the credit.
Ignorance. They simply don’t know how.

I can’t help with the first two, other than point you to Scripture and hope it convicts you otherwise. But I might be able to help you with the third one.

I’m not trying to oversimplify a complicated leadership issue. It’s certainly not “easy” to implement, but the understanding the process really is simple.


1. Identify

It could be a specific one-time task or an ongoing assignment. Find something which would be better if it were delegated. It could be because you aren’t as skilled as others in this area, you don’t have adequate time to commit to it, or you have lost interest in it. Look for things know someone would be better suited to lead. They have more time or talent in this area. Don’t get stuck on this one. Make sure you find something. There is always something when you look for it.

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2. Match

Find the right person/s for the responsibility based on passion, experience, and follow through capabilities. This can be volunteer or paid, but pick people who will do what they say they will do and you trust. Otherwise you will constantly be looking over their shoulder and back to not delegating again. And you may not know until you give someone a chance to try.

Please don’t say there is no one to trust in your church or organization. If that’s the case, I see a couple options—you can change organizations or change the leader—and in these cases most of the time it is the leader. Part of leading is raising up others to lead. (I’m not trying to be harsh, but it’s true.)

3. Release

This is the “letting go” part. (This is the scary part for many leaders. You may simply have to walk by faith on this one. I suspect Moses did when he followed Jethro’s advice.) Few leaders really do this well. Leaders usually lean more toward control than release, in my experience.

But if you want to be a delegator—especially a healthy delegator, you have to learn to give up your right to control. It won’t likely be done the way you wanted it to be done. Things may not be done at the pace you expected. You have to release authority to do the delegated work. Help cast a vision of what a win looks like, give them the tools they need, but this is the part of delegation you need the most—getting out of the way.

4. Follow Up

Healthy delegation isn’t a dumping of responsibilities. If you are the senior leader, you have some responsibility, even though you have released authority. Set a reminder on your calendar to periodically follow up with the person. Remain close enough and available to them should they have questions or need help, but stay out of their way as they complete the assignment.

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I realize it’s not easy for some to delegate responsibility. It comes with discipline and practice. One way to improve at this is to consider the overall purposes and goals of the organization. When you recognize some things can better be attained through delegation—rather than simply completing tasks personally—you will lead healthier teams.

The journey to complete a worthy vision, includes delegating. Letting go to achieve greater success should be a key motivation for leadership.

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This article originally appeared on RonEdmondson.com and is reposted here by permission.