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Most Underrated Leadership Skill

Highlight on a leadership skill that doesn't get nearly enough press.

When we think about leadership, words like "influence," "vision", and "service" come to mind.  Those are all important aspects of leadership, however, I think there's a leadership skill that doesn't get nearly enough pressdelegation.

Delegation doesn't simply mean telling someone to perform a task.  Delegation means trusting a team member by giving him an opportunity to use his strengths.  Delegation frees up time so you can handle efforts that only you can do. 

Now, it can be hard to let go of a task or event you've always managed.  Even if it's not something you enjoy doing, you don't want it "messed up" or you feel guilty about assigning it to someone else, so you hold on to it.  Look at it this way: If you're not performing work only you can do because you won't let go of something someone else would love to do, then you're not doing your best work for the church you love.  I also appreciate how Pastor Andy Stanley phrased it, "Every time you do too much you steal an opportunity from someone else."  That task you can't stand doing could be work someone else would thoroughly enjoy.  Don't rob your team of the chance to use their talents.

Once you've decided it's time to delegate, try these tips for a successful delegation process:

Tip #1: Identify tasks that don't require your skillset or that you're not the best at doing

The hallmark of a great leader isn't the person who does everything.  You can't do everything (and you're not going to be the best at everything) anyway, that's why you have a team.  If your church is just starting out, you may not have many staff members available to take on new tasks.  If that's the case, either seek out volunteers to help or at least document the steps required for the task.  That way, once you do have someone available to help, the delegation process will be that much easier and faster. 

Tip #2: Determine who on your team has the right skillset

Do you have a Type-A, detail-oriented team member?  Great!  Delegate tasks involving precise steps and details to that individual.  Do you have someone who is great at sparking up conversations with complete strangers?  He just might be who you need following up with first-time guests.  Match the skills needed to be successful at the task with the right team member.

Tip #3: Tell, show, shadow, and then let go

Great delegation involves more than assigning a task to someone.  It requires a bit of extra work initially to equip an employee to perform a new task. 
1. Tell him about the task and what the final outcome needs to look like. 
2. Show him how you approach the task while providing step-by-step instructions whenever possible. 
3. Watch him as he performs the task.  Resist the temptation to immediately jump in to correct him when he hesitates, wait a while to see how he handles it. 
4. Let him take it from there but have him provide you with status updates on a regular basis.

Delegation frees up time and energy for you to make your best contribution to the church. 

It also provides an opportunity for you to develop upcoming leaders and allows them to offer their best talents to the church.  Delegation isn't just about getting work done, although it certainly helps.  Delegation is about developing ourselves and others to do the work of the ministry.


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