In order to be an effective leader, one must learn to properly delegate responsibilities and hold others accountable to their commitments. Since we cannot do all of the ministry by ourselves, especially as our ministry grows, we will need to delegate some of our responsibilities to others if we are to get the work done that the Lord requires of us. Learning how to delegate effectively and then hold others accountable will produce action and not excuses.
“Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the Word.”
Delegation is the act of empowering someone to act for another. When we delegate something to someone else we are asking them to take responsibility for getting something done on our behalf. There are several reasons why we would delegate responsibility to others.
First, delegation allows us to spread the workload so that more work can be accomplished in less time. Second, we delegate so that we can enlist the help of others. This enables us to have others participate in ministry and to utilize their skills. Third, we delegate to others to expand our ministry. This gives us time for other ministry work or to pursue other ministry passions and opportunities. Finally, we delegate to others to develop them as potential leaders. We do this to train others for ministry, enable ministry leadership succession, and to build the kingdom of God.
Here are 6 principles of delegation:
“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.”
2 Timothy 2:2
Delegate to people of character, people of faith, and people full of the Holy Spirit.
2. Delegate to trained people
Make sure they are trained for the task at hand and provide training, if necessary, before you delegate.
3. Delegate responsibility, not activities
Give them freedom to manage as they feel appropriate. Do not dictate the process but allow them to use their own style to accomplish goals.
4. Delegate authority with responsibility
Do not hold back your authority from them. Let them make decisions within the authority you give them. Gently guide, but do not decide.
5. Provide deadlines for results
Specify project time frames for completion and make sure deadlines are agreed to. Be firm but flexible on deadlines and allow for changes due to unforeseen circumstances. Make sure new deadlines are also agreed to.
6. Follow up to answer questions or provide support
Provide ongoing guidance and encouragement.
When you delegate, first decide which project or responsibility to delegate to someone. It could be a project that you want someone else to lead or a responsibility that you do not have time to lead. Second, choose the leader wisely. Select only qualified, trained or experienced leaders. Third, communicate your expectations to them. Agree on goals & objectives and specify outputs & results. Fourth, give deadlines and specify desired completion dates. Make sure they commit to meeting the deadlines and monitor their progress to ensure deadlines will be met. Finally, provide support to them. Do not ignore them or leave them on their own. Give them encouragement along the way.
“So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.”
Accountability is an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions. Leaders should never delegate responsibilities to others without holding them accountable. This is to ensure project success and the achievement of project goals, completing projects on time and meeting key project deadlines, developing the leadership skills of others and their decision making ability, and to build the leader’s confidence and trust in others.
Here are 4 basic principles of Accountability:
1. Never delegate responsibility without accountability
It enables you to maintain control and tells them this project is important. It also shows them you are interested in what they do.
2. Be specific in your expectations
Set deadlines for results and communicate clearly the results you expect. Write them down if necessary.
3. Be diligent in your follow up
Check on their progress regularly and ask for status reports (weekly, monthly, etc.). Expect results as promised and on-time.
4. Be constructive in your feedback
Do not be overly critical and praise good work and effort. Offer your encouragement and support.
Holding someone accountable means that you first make sure objectives are clearly understood. Poor objectives will lead to poor results and potential project failure. Second, make sure deadlines are agreed to. Write them down if you have to and make sure you both agree to them. Third, ask for regular updates and status reports. Keep on top of the project and its progress and meet regularly to discuss project issues. Fourth, provide ongoing feedback and give your thoughts and comments on the progress. Fifth, praise and reward good effort and give them your encouragement. Finally, recognize success and short term achievements. Do it publicly if significant.
(taken from chapter 2 of our Management for Church Leaders™ Volume #2 Training Manual © 2010)