So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program. 3 And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility. 4 Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.” – Acts 6:2-4
The definition of delegation is to “give or commit (duties, powers, etc.) to another as agent or representative” (dictionary.com). As I speak with new and more experienced leaders regarding their areas of improvement, one of the prevailing areas is delegation. The inability to delegate hinders us from empowering others as well as getting work completed. We somehow as leaders believe by not delegating the work it will get executed faster and the level of trust in ourselves gives us confidence that it will be completed the way we want it. The lack of delegation in a leader chokes the ability to give others the opportunity to learn, grow, and gain experiences that will develop them into what they are purposed to become.
In Acts 6, we see the disciples coming to a realization they could not do everything. They placed themselves in a situation where they were taking the concept of serving to an inordinate level. The disciples realized they could not run a food program, preach, teach, and pray throughout a given day. They were placing unnecessary pressure on themselves to get various things completed.
I just recently led a massive reorganization initiative. The project entailed several business units and affected over one thousand employees. Due to the aggressive timeline there were many elements that needed to be considered, planned, and executed very quickly. Many leaders at various levels of the organization needed to be constantly informed on all of the moving elements as well as contribute to the direction of the outcome due to these changes affecting many areas of the company. I had to quickly build a team that could be my arms and legs throughout this project and could assist me with all the items that needed to be planned and executed. I thought I was doing well with leveraging the team in the planning and execution phase until I realized too late that I did not have the administrative support to help me with the day to day administrative duties that needed to be executed. I found myself trying to locate conference rooms to hold these confidential meetings, looking for specific office supplies to aid in the strategic discussions, etc. There was one time I was in a room with senior leadership to review the status of the project and I did not know how to use the technically advanced phone and media system to have the people who were calling in obtain access to the information we were about to present. I selected people to assist with everything else and I forgot to select someone to assist with one of the most important elements of a project: administrative support. I was trying to lead a major project while making copies, making last minute changes to presentations, finding conference rooms, etc. I was so overloaded that I could not place my focus on key elements within the project. If only I realized this area of improvement sooner. We sometimes have to take a step back and understand everything that is on our plate and reexamine if there is assistance available to mitigate the stress of trying to accomplish it all.
There are times in the church we don’t delegate because we are very controlling within our ministries. We want to stay in our position forever and not teach and empower others to learn what we know. We feel a sense of power and control and feel threatened by the possibility of someone coming and moving us out of our position. Therefore, we do much of the work and keep a lot of pertinent information to ourselves. Then we complain that people are not stepping up to help and/or they do not know how to do a particular activity.
We should never deceive ourselves to think that by not delegating will create/maintain job security in any position we hold. It will only perpetuate what the enemy wants us to focus on: stagnation and lack of empowerment. The disciples broke that mental stronghold in Acts 6 and realized the importance of delegation. However, they did not just place the emphasis on giving work to others, but they also focused on finding the right people to give the work to. We will explore how to effectively delegate to the right people in our next blog.
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