THE ART OF DELEGATING RESPONSIBILITY

THE ART OF DELEGATING RESPONSIBILITY

– SOME HELPFUL THOUGHTS FOR PERSONS WHO ASSIGN PROJECTS OR MINISTRY RESPONSIBILITIES TO OTHERS –

A good leader delegates. We all know that. However, many leaders are not aware that
the way we delegate and oversee the project not only makes or breaks the project, but makes
or breaks the person assigned the project as well. Leaders have an excellent opportunity
to make a vital contribution to the spiritual upbuilding of another simply in the way we assign
and oversee them in the execution of the project.

Here are some suggestions:

1. Define and elaborate the ministry or task to be assigned as clearly and specifically
as possible.

A. State it's objective. This should include why it is being done as well as the specifics
as to what is to be done.

B. This might include budget allotment, rooms available, suggested dates, name of
other interested persons and whatever additional details the project demands.

C. In many cases this in writing would be helpful.

2. There are two additional areas that should be included in your detailing out the specifics
of their responsibility:

A. To whom are they responsible? Is it you, a committee, the Council?

B. How broad or limited is their authority? Delegated responsibility usually involves
a degree of delegated authority. This needs to be spelled out as much as possible.

3. Enlisting the right person for the assignment is important. Sometimes this is done
by soliciting volunteers. However, many assignments need to be filled by personal
recruitment. It's better to personally ask people to do a job; it has been found that
people usually will not sign up, and also by enlisting people you have the opportunity
to do the following:

A. Make it a matter of prayer.

B. Convey the importance of the project and why you feel right in soliciting their participation.

C. Many projects need people with special talents and gifts. Be sensitive to this and protect people from becoming "misfits" — this can discourage them as well as frustrate the project.

D. Trust the Lord to raise up His right person.

4. Communicate the details of the project — what is expected of them (as specified
in our first point).

5. Once you have given the assignment, if you are the one ultimately responsible for
the project, please understand your responsibility is not over. Many times we think
that once a responsibility has been given, we can take a deep breath and say, "well,
that's that" and forget about it. Such a "lassez faire" approach, however, leads to
disappointed leaders, frustrated workers, and poorly executed projects. Leaders must
continue to assume a sense of personal responsibility not only for the completion
of the project but for the well being of the person doing the project. Leaders should
have as one of their clearly understood goals that the person working for them have
a positive experience, one that adds to their personal development and fulfillment.

6. Leaders, therefore, should regard follow-up or the way they oversee the work being
done as very important. Remember, our goal is to try and build people as well as
complete projects. Here are some things that will help: –

A. Ask the person to prayerfully work out a plan for accompanying the task.

B. Assure them of your prayers and availability if they have questions.

C. Help them realize they will not be on their own, that you will not abandoned them,
that you and others will be supporting them. This will entail encouraging them,
making periodic phone calls to check progress and to see how things are going.

D. Set up a meeting to review their plans.

  • Evaluate it carefully and prayerfully.
  • Listen sensitively to what they have to say. Have an ear open to the Spirit's leading.  Be aware that others might come up with ideas and ways of accomplishing a task that you might never have thought of.
  • If you see serious flaws or have suggestions you feel need to be shared, make sure you communicate very sensitively, in a way that will protect the person from feeling they are failing.
  • If this is to be a learning and growing experience for the person doing the job, it might be better to have them come up with the necessary modifications, if you feel changes must be made.
  • Inform them of available resources.

E. On completion of the project, express appreciation both privately and, if possible, publicly.

F. Evaluate! Were the goals realized? What could have been done to improve the process
as well as the project? Are there lessons to be learned? Many church-wide projects
deserve to have many different people evaluate the experience. A Missions
Conference, for example, should have an evaluation form for all participants to
fill out.

G. Write up guidelines and recommendations for another year. Too often we fail to
learn from our successes and failures. If the project is to be repeated, it probably
deserves being "written up" so the next chairperson or committee will not have to
start from scratch.

H. Now that the project has been completed, give the person encouragement and guidance
as to their involvement in other areas.