Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
God knew exactly what He was doing when He established the system of a “body in Christ.” We see all throughout Scripture that we were never intended to live or produce alone and that it’s always more effective to work as a team whether in marriage, work, or ministry. However, many times leaders find themselves having a hard time keeping others dedicated, driven and passionate in the process. What’s the best way to keep a team invested so we’re not left carrying the burden of all the work?
Delegation stewardship has worked well in our organization. A big part of this includes letting go of micro-managing methods, which stifle creativity and instead focusing on results. In giving team members the freedom to come to these results in their own way, it’s also important that there’s a mutual understanding and commitment regarding expectations.
- Desired Results
It’s important to communicate a clear, mutual understanding of what needs to be accomplished. You are beginning with the end in mind. What is the goal? Share the heart of the vision. Focus on the what not the how. When we start to dibble-dabble into the little details of how every small thing needs to be done, it strips others of their personal strengths and creativity and boxes them into a process.
Tagging on from my last point, this doesn’t mean we remove all forms of structure. No, instead we clearly outline the boundaries or guidelines. This allows room for initiative, but helps the team members to understand the organization’s values. For example, last year here in Dallas my team and I organized a Holiday Drive for a local children’s home. The plan was to collect enough toys and clothing for about 75 kids (the desired result). In order to accomplish this we were to create donation boxes and places of business to hold them, to reach out to local stores, churches, and we needed to a set deadline for when donations were due and when they’d be delivered. These were the guidelines. I didn’t tell them how they should talk to the store managers or exactly what to put out on social media; they already understood the vision I’d clearly communicated. And they were excited to share with others what we were doing in their own personality, with their own creative outlet, which compelled others to get involved! Not only that but they felt accomplished in their own efforts which brings fulfillment, and all that together fuels passion. Keep in mind nothing is wrong with suggestions! “I found it easier to do it this way personally because…” but leave the door open for team members to discover their niche.
Another necessary aspect is to identify all the organization’s resources, which includes human as well as all other resources. What items or connections are needed to make the end result possible? We don’t want anyone walking blind here! Help point them in the direction where they can find what they need to fulfill the vision. When we needed cardboard boxes to use for our donation boxes, I led one of our girls to various grocery stores and places like Best Buy to find them, but I let her coordinate the contacts and pickups.
What is the standard of performance that is expected to be evaluated for results and when will it take place? The purpose of accountability is to make sure everyone is on track with the goal. Once the end result is made clear, and the team members understand what’s expected from whom, then as a leader, it’s your job to make sure everyone is holding up their end, and has everything needed in order to reach the desired result. Without micro-managing, leaders can check in to make sure communication is good and deadlines are met. However without accountability, it’s easy to lose track and let many other tasks get in the way. Warning: Deadlines in the calendar are closer than they appear.
Specify what will happen, both good and bad, as a result of the evaluation. I recommend a 3- strike rule: After three times of reaching out and seeing no progress, re-explaining what is expected, then, in love, remove the person from that position. This part can be either encouraging or discouraging depending on the consequence. When on a mission to propel a vision or project forward, fulfilling communicated roles is important for the whole team, or else one or all becomes dead weight. Then either you or another must fill the void. That can lead to disgruntlement, and that can lead to unproductiveness. If you have led for more than two weeks, you have most likely found people get caught up in the excitement of the vision, but fail to follow through when it comes to getting work done. Don’t be discouraged. Continue to pray that God will send the right people and always remember He’s the hand propelling this vision forward.
Stewardship is nothing new. In fact we see Moses’ father-in-law giving Moses wise advice on delegation in Exodus, Chapter 18 applying these same principles.
And so it was, on the next day, that Moses sat to judge the people; and the people stood before Moses from morning until evening. (Exodus 18:13, NKJV)
Trying to do everything yourself is bad for everyone concerned. People are waiting on you, while you are doing other things.
So when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he did for the people, he said, “What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit, and all the people stand before you from morning until evening?” (Exodus 18:14)
Moses told his father-in-law that the people came to him to inquire of God, that he made known the statutes of God and His laws.
So Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you do is not good. Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself. Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you: Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God. And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do.
Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Then it will be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they themselves shall judge. So it will be easier for you, for they will bear the burden with you. If you do this thing, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all these people will also go to their place in peace.” (Exodus 18:17-23, NKJV)
May God continue to give us the strength and wisdom we need to carry out his work on the earth!
Stewardship is nothing new. Because Moses receives wise advice on delegation from his father-in-law, Jethro, we leaders have this wisdom to lead by as well. Note the key points from Exodus 18:13-23, NLT.
- What are you really accomplishing here?
- Why are you trying to do all this alone while everyone stands around you from morning till evening?
- This is not good!
- You’re going to wear yourself out – and the people, too.
- This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself.
- Select from all the people some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes.
- They should always be available to solve the people’s common disputes, but have them bring the major cases to you.
- Let the leaders decide the smaller matters themselves.
Jethro outlined the benefits for everyone:
- They will help you carry the load, making the task easier for you.
- You will be able to endure the pressures,
- And all these people will go home in peace.