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Delegation: Entrusting to faithful men

April 17, 2017

As the Apostle Paul was nearing his death, he wrote this to his beloved disciple Timothy:

“…what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also”. 2 Timothy 2:2 (ESV)

Paul is instructing Timothy to find faithful men whom he can develop as leaders through delegation.

Without delegation, the potential leaders around us will stay just that: potential leaders.

Delegation is the most powerful tool we have in our leadership development tool belt.

Delegation is NOT:

People can tend to view delegation in one of two incorrect ways. To clear up the confusion, delegation is not:

A Weakness

Delegating to others doesn’t mean you are not capable enough to do it on your own. Usually, you can.

Delegation is involving others in the work so that they can become the leaders they were meant to be.

An Escape

Delegation is not a way to get out of the work that you don’t want to do. Delegation can, in fact, be harder than doing the work yourself.

Training others and walking alongside them to assist them in the task is slower and more frustrating.

If we are going to be leaders who gather other leaders around us and empower them to lead, then we must learn how to delegate effectively.

Delegation IS:

The definition of delegation is: Entrusting appropriate opportunities to competent men in order to aid in their development as leaders.

Successful delegation takes time and thought. It is not meant to be haphazard, but intentional.

The use of the word “entrust” is calculated.

As leaders, when we delegate we still own the task. We are entrusting the task to someone else to steward, but we are still responsible for it. This view allows us to feel the freedom to follow up.

When delegating we must consider what is appropriate for the leader to handle. What opportunity will most meet their leadership development needs?

We want to stretch the leaders around us, but not to the point that we break them.

As Paul instructed Timothy, we must be careful who we entrust opportunities to. We need to find competent men and women who are dependable to complete the task we delegate to them.

Why delegate?

Delegation and Development

As I mentioned above, if you want to develop leaders, you must delegate to them.

Young leaders realize their potential and capacity through strategically delegated opportunities.

A leader who doesn’t delegate is insecure and actually doesn’t even meet the definition of a leader.

Delegation and Vision

Effective delegation is one of the keys to achieving your goals and vision as a leader.

Leaders must lead with vision and direction, see the big picture, and not get lost in the details.

Delegating frees you to think for direction and not only details.

Delegation and Ownership

If you want those you lead to be confident, productive, and own your vision and goals, you must delegate big opportunities to them.

How to delegate:

  1. Selection
    • Delegate to the right people. Be sure they are ready for the opportunity. Don’t undershoot their ability and insult them. Don’t overshoot their ability and defeat them.
  2. Placement
    • Get the right people in the right places doing the right things. Determine appropriate responsibilities by measuring availability, competence and character of the leader.
  3. Clarity
    • Personal Clarity of Vision
      • You must know and be able to clearly articulate the goal before you communicate anything to your people. You should spend more time making the idea clear in your head than you do communicating it to your people.
    • Clarity in Communication of the Vision
      • Define the win. Cast vision for what success could look like.
    • Clarity in Communication of the Strategy
      • There must be understanding when it comes to roles and responsibilities. Your people need to clearly grasp their job description, their schedule, and the expectations on them. Then they need to be able to connect the dots on how all that relates to the overall vision and goals.
  4. Affirmation
    • Celebrate, affirm, and encourage the individual. Recognize and acknowledge what they bring to the table and why they are the best person for the job.
  5. Freedom
    • You only want to communicate the desired goal or vision. Don’t be controlling in your description of how to achieve it. If you want to develop leaders, you must give clear goals yet allow for freedom in methods to achieve those goals.
    • Hear it from one of my heroes, Teddy Roosevelt: “The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling while they do it.”
  6. Availability
    • Throughout our leader’s opportunity we must be available for help. Since we still “own” the task, we need to be available to assist them in any way they need. We must not leave them out to dry.
    • We need to provide consistent encouragement and continue reviewing the expectations for the job. Give them freedom to figure it out, but don’t desert them.
  7. Follow-up
    • One of the greatest failures in delegation is the lack of follow-up. After the task has been delegated, there must be a moment to preview their work. This allows them to show you their progress and ensures that their interpretation of the responsibility meets your expectations.

As Jesus was about to ascend to heaven He pronounced the Great Commission.

Seen through leadership development lenses you could call this the “Great Delegation.”

Jesus entrusted the evangelization of the world to His men. He has sent His Spirit to follow up and ensure the job gets done (Acts 1-2).

As we are delegating responsibilities to leaders around us, we are mobilizing more and more people towards finding their most strategic contribution to the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

Don’t steal this opportunity away from others by not delegating!