If you’re a leader on any platform, you’ve probably been told how important it is to delegate? Managers the world over are constantly praised for their ability to delegate tasks to their team. On paper, it seems to make sense. How do you get the people around you to accomplish more? You tell them what to do.
The idea is partly right. When we have a vision for what we want people to accomplish, it makes sense that we share with them what it is we want them to do. Traditionally, that’s how we’ve accomplished productivity within churches. We have a ministry lead. We want them to do something. We ask/tell them to do it. They do it. We all celebrate this great success…
There are a number of problems when we look at tasks like this. First, is the idea that these are “tasks”. Ministry leads should never be “completers or tasks.” They are leaders. If the vision has been properly shared within your parish, ministry leads know their purpose. The word purpose here is of the utmost importance. Ministry leads need to KNOW that that ministry is for them to shape and form. This allows them to take ownership and if you’re trying to grow the impact of your parish, that ownership is key. That ownership is what keeps passion high during low moments. Delegation doesn’t create passion.
Second comes a conversation around vision. Vision must be shared constantly and consistently. The vision is part of a large and intentional process and you are not going to be successful if you don’t put effort into that process. Vision is a picture of the future that produces passion. Vision is not a to do list and delegation (in its typical practice) is passing the baton of to do lists. To do lists do not produce passion and as we’ve already discussed, passion is very much something we need to encourage.
So, if we don’t tell the people that we’re leading exactly what to do then how are we going to ensure that they do exactly what we want them to? You can’t and you shouldn’t. If you’re building leaders, you have to give them room to make their own decisions.
If you don’t give leaders the chance to lead then you’re not a leader.
The chance that yours is the only way to do something is zero and the chance that yours is the best way is not as high as you might think. When we give people room to come up with interesting ways to do something…they usually do. A lack of passion and innovation is often an issue of leadership. If I don’t believe that I am empowered, I will ask for a to do list and complete the tasks on that list…maybe. At best, I will perform at a basic acceptable level. At worst…is much worse.
This advice is applicable at every level. If you have people that are looking to you for leadership, empower them to lead themselves. Support them, guide them, pick them up when they fall down, but don’t give them a list of tasks because they’ll do exactly what you expected from them. Activate them and expect more.