8 Steps for Effective Delegation

This post was written by Angie Hooie, a member of the INCM Blog team.

Are there any other Type A personalities out there like me who want all the control? I didn’t think so… (Eyeroll.)

I think I can do all the things and that I don’t need any help. I regularly think, “It will take too long to explain what needs to be done, so I’ll just do it.” Can I get an amen from any other leader on this one?

I also believe I need to grow in my leadership, and so do you. One way is through delegation. Let’s start with the definition. To delegate is “to entrust to another person, to assign responsibility or authority.”

Delegation allows the team members to use their own skills and decision-making in order to support the mission of the ministry. By contrast, micromanaging, which is one person managing every task of every person on a team, takes away the ability of the team member to use their gifts, talents, and specialized skills, and can hinder the work that could be done by many.

Because the kingdom depends on the many parts of the body in order to advance, we would be crazy not to delegate to people who have the right skills, abilities, and servant heart to do the work they also are called to. And it’s likely that if we don’t delegate and we don’t ask for help, we will burn out and won’t be able to sustain any ministry at all. What we do is too important to burn out.

So how do we delegate, who do we delegate to?

Jim Wideman once said, “If you are doing things that others can do, it will keep you from doing what only you can do.” 

With this in mind, let’s look at eight steps of effective delegation that will help you develop your team.

  1. Define what you need done. Write down a list of all the tasks you do, regular weekly tasks: tasks for big events, tasks you can’t do but would like to do, tasks you do but aren’t skilled to do. Identify the jobs you need done. Create a checklist you need done.
  2. Identify who has skills to help you. In your volunteers or team members, who has skills that match up with what you need to be done? Are they capable, able, and willing to learn? Do they embody the mission of the ministry? Do they have a servant heart? Have you asked them to help?
  3. Ask for help. It can be challenging to ask the people you have identified to help you when you know they have a lot on their plates. However, I encourage you to ask them and let them make a choice. Ask yourself this question, “What’s the best that can happen?” If someone says “no,” you can move on. If someone says “yes,” your ministry can grow!
  4. Train and teach. Model to the team member how you want it done. Classes are good, but hands-on training is even better. It’s ok if a volunteer needs to learn what needs to be done. Communicate AND over communicate what you want done and how. Train them to do it correctly, and you’ll gain time in your schedule to do other tasks.
  5. Give authority. Delegating responsibility means nothing without delegating authority. Those you delegate to cannot effectively carry out the tasks that you need them to carry out without authority. Let them know you believe they can do the tasks and that you trust them to do it.
  6. Support and encourage. Say “thank you” all the time. Compliment them on a job well done. Respond to their calls and texts. Check in on your team members on Sunday mornings or whenever you see them. You can send them a thank you card or small gift to say you appreciate them.
  7. Make corrections or changes when necessary. I love the phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Don’t make changes for the sake of making changes. However, if it isn’t working, fix it. People want to serve on a team that is successful, so help your volunteers fix a problem when it comes up.
  8. Be the leader. Be the kind of person you would want to work for. Give your team/volunteers an example to follow.

To be successful and in ministry for the long haul, delegation is not an option. Jesus built a team around him. Moses had a team around him. Build a team around yourself.

You are not meant to run this race alone. Give some of it away, and you’ll be able to run farther in ministry together.


About Angie

Angie has been married for over 21 years, and has 3 kids. She has been volunteering in children’s ministry for over 20 years, and was called into vocational ministry 7 years ago. She oversees 3 campuses and has been deeply involved in growing and expanding her church’s special needs ministry.

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