How to Delegate (part 1)

Delegation is a critical part of leadership. Not only does it free you to focus on your priorities, it enables you to intentionally release others to lead. In the next three posts, I’ll address three essential ingredients to effective delegation. The first ingredient is Priority Assessment. Priority Assessment is the process of identifying your highest priorities using the sweet spot of three intersecting circles.

1. Job Requirements – There are certain aspects of a leader’s job that only the leader can do. In a local church context, these “requirements” might include clarifying and casting vision, serving as the primary communicator, and raising resources. This will vary from one situation to the next depending on different dynamics. When you are crystal clear about your non-negotiable job requirements, you can essentially give yourself permission to delegate everything else. Question: What is in my job description that nobody but me can do?

2. Personal Strengths – A leader will find the greatest fulfillment and make the greatest contribution through his or her strengths. When awareness of strengths increases, the clarity for greater impact also increases. The key is to align personal strengths with the right organizational opportunities. Effective leaders learn to play to their strengths and delegate their weaknesses. It almost sounds heartless, unless of course, your weakness is a strength for the person you delegate it to. Question: Which of my gifts, abilities, skills, and passions maximize personal fulfillment and organizational impact?

3. Investment Return – The idea of “investment return” is usually the longest bridge for leaders to cross. Why? Because it requires leaders to admit that some things they enjoy doing may not actually generate the greatest return for the church or organization. For example, if you love designing websites–perhaps it’s even your strength–it may not be the best use of your time as a leader. This doesn’t mean it’s not important, it’s just not important for YOU to do it. There are likely other areas that will generate a far greater return on your investment of time. Question: What gives the church or organization the greatest return on the investment of my time?

Your general priorities are revealed by your answers to the questions above. But where your answers overlap and intersect reveals your major priorities. Delegation doesn’t start by giving away responsibility–it starts by understanding which responsibilities you can’t give away. That list will be shorter than you think.

Question: Based on your answers to the three questions above, what are the 3-5 major priorities that represent the best use of your time? Give yourself permission to place everything outside of these major priorities on your delegation list.