By Jim Randall
DELEGATION is the empowering or giving someone the authority to act on your behalf. It is very important that the person you empower knows exactly what you want to accomplish because they are speaking and acting in your place.
Too many leaders are ineffective in achieving their goals because they are attempting to do everything themselves because they don’t know how to effectively delegate their work to others. Effective delegation is one of the first lessons that a visionary leader must master in order to maintain growth that will accomplish his goals. “If you are not delegating, you are cheating and stealing from God and God’s people by not allowing them to develop in God’s plan.”
Four levels of delegation
Remember, a leader must always be training new people to achieve higher levels of performance. One way to do that is by giving them something to do that will stretch them.
The first level of delegation is give a job to someone that needs you to stand close by to guide them in the way you want it done. You do not do the work yourself but you work with them and guide them to do it. Your primary role as a leader is to help others to succeed. If they succeed, then you succeed.
The second level of delegation is to check on your team member occasionally to make sure they are succeeding or to give additional help as needed.
The third level is to check on people in the middle of the job and when they should be near the end of the job. Remember your job is to help them to succeed. By checking in the middle, they know that you are there to help but not telling them what to do. Checking near the end will provide you an opportunity to give them additional help if needed to finish well and on time.
The fourth level of delegation is to give them a job to do and tell them to report to you when they have finished. They have enough experience and expertise to do it without any further input or help from you. That is the level you are trying to attain for all your staff.
5 Steps to Effective Delegation
The following five simple steps will help you to become more effective in delegating to those God has sent to help you accomplish His work. You must tell them in detail the project you want them to complete and get the following from them:
- Understand – Ask questions, don’t tell them how to do it but make sure they clearly understand what you want done. You are giving it to them because they already know how to do it.
- Confirm – they should be taking notes, if not, they are wasting your time. Ask questions.
- “Relate back to me in detail what I have directed you to do.”
- “What are you least clear about?”
- Commit – Ask questions that will eliminate excuses.
- “What are you least comfortable with?”
- “Can you do this like we discussed?”
- “What will you need to get this job done?”
- “Can you foresee any problems?”
- “What are you concerned about?”
- Try to discourage them to make sure they really want to do the job. Give them an opportunity to say, “No” now, not later.
- When they have committed to do the job, tell them the following:
“If anything should occur that would prevent you from completing this job the way I delegated it, the way you agreed to do it, in the time you agreed to do it, it is your responsibility to let me know IMMEDIATELY what you plan to do so that the job can be completed the way we planned.” Don’t let them make excuses. It is still their responsibility.
If they come to you with a problem, ask them what they plan to do about it. Let them come up with ideas. Teach them to think. Either confirm their idea or guide them to find answers by asking questions. Don’t tell them what to do. They need to learn to think things through and come up with solutions. You should guide them and teach them how to think through problems to find solutions for themselves, otherwise your people will be bombarding you with trivial problems they should be solving for themselves.
4. Evaluate Pre-Implementation – Before the project is launched.
- Meet again at the half way point and at the 90% point so you have time to fix any problems.
- Inexperienced people will need more evaluation.
Evaluate Post-Implementation – After the project is finished. Don’t ignore this very important step.
- Ask, “Did we accomplish what we intended? What was supposed to happen, what actually happened and how do you account for the difference?”
- Learn from mistakes and failures so you will become more likely to succeed in the future. “A wise man learns from the mistakes of others. A normal man learns from his own mistakes but a fool learns from no one’s mistakes.”
5. Develop Best Practices – Learn what worked and remember to do it like that again.
Ministry is built through wisdom, established through knowledge. Get them to evaluate the success of the project so they will also teach others. (II Timothy 2:2).
*For more resources from the ALLC on Delegation click here.