I enjoy working within a team – casting a vision, sharing ideas, making plans, and eating free food (which of course is a requirement for any good team meeting). Team building is an important element of leading, but can only thrive through mutual trust and appreciation between the leader and those being lead.
Great leaders are excellent team builders. They get to know their team members right away – their strengths and areas of weaknesses. They celebrate each team members’ strengths and challenge them to confront their weaknesses. In this manner, all team members are able to grow and the team is collectively better as a result.
Growth inevitably occurs when leaders are willing to release control, take risks, and allow team members to lead through their own areas of strength. By delegating appropriate responsibilities, leaders can focus on the specific work that they need to do like prayer, casting visions, strategic planning, making important connections, training team members, and assessing the healthiness of production (nature of the work or service being offered).
Specifically, delegation yields two important results:
- Allows the leader to focus on their specific areas of interest and responsibility
- Gives team members the opportunity to grow into strong leaders themselves
Let’s take a quick look at two great biblical examples of delegation, one in the Old Testament and the other in the New Testament.
Moses received wise counsel from his father-in-law, Jethro concerning his huge responsibility of judging the people. Jethro said to Moses, “You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work it too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone (Exodus 18:18). Jethro reminded Moses of the important responsibility of praying for the people (which was a constant need of paramount importance). Judging was not the best use of Moses’ time. He should have been praying and teaching the people to obey the Lord. Jethro therefore advised Moses to select trustworthy men and delegate the responsibility of judging. By making the recommended change, Moses focused on what the Lord called him to do and was no longer burdened by a work load that was too heavy. (Entire reference: Exodus 18:13-26.)
The twelve disciples were faced with an issue that needed managing. They realized that if they tackled the issue themselves, it would require their neglect of the ministries of prayer and teaching the word of God. Therefore, they appointed seven men to take on the responsibility. (Entire reference: Acts 6:1-7)
You will notice several themes in these two passages:
- The leaders clearly understood their primary responsibilities – the key areas that specifically needed their focus and attention
- The leaders understood that their primary responsibilities included prayer, teaching, and training
- The leaders identified trusted (wise, faithful, intelligent, honest, loyal, competent, passionate) people to delegate responsibilities to
- In delegating, the leaders did not completely remove themselves from the situation. They were observant and willing to assist the team members with difficulties as needed.
Why is it so hard to delegate? Do you value this important leadership tool? How can delegation benefit you and your team as a leader?
© Natasha S. Robinson 2011
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