We’ve all experienced the dreaded dirty delegation.
We are given a task, but then the supervisor micro-manages our every move, never really releasing us to do the job. We end up watching them do it and walk away feeling unsatisfied.
Why didn’t they just do it themselves?
We feel a lack of trust.
No one wants to be on the receiving end of delegation with strings attached. Unfortunately, we may have been on the giving end of it as well.
Gracious, trusting leadership is not the corporate norm. Even in churches or the non-profit world, it is common for the charismatic leader to have everything flow through them.
Turnover can be high because people feel like minions doing the king’s bidding rather than a trusted, integral part of the team.
I’ve been spending a lot of time in 1 Timothy lately, especially taking note of Paul’s relationship with his young apprentice, Timothy.
I feel this relationship can give us tremendous insight into how to be gracious leaders who delegate and release!
We see from the outset of the book, Paul tasked Timothy with a job. “As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine,” (1 Timothy 1:3). Later he says, “This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child,…”
These words are key. Paul trusted Timothy with the job. Ephesus was his favorite church, his baby, his pet project!
What is delegation with trust?
Guidance not control. Paul gave some instructions on addressing certain people in order to defend sound doctrine. He did not tell him exactly how to do it or the words to say. There was no instruction manual. Rather throughout the book, there is an emphasis on humility and love, which leads to restoration.
Allowing people to put their own flavor in the job. Paul knew Timothy was young. In both experience but also he would employ a youthful, different generation style. Rather than talk style, he urged him to walk in timeless expressions of honor and love.
Being a cheerleader more than a managing director. Paul was not looking over Timothy’s shoulder. He hoped to visit, but knew the success of the ministry was not dependent on him showing his face. (1 Tim. 3:14) This is a key to longevity.
What is it not?
Throw them in the deep end. Unfortunately, the opposite of a micro-managing leader, is one who delegates with no training or input. “Figure it out!” Many leaders had this modeled to them, lacking a mentoring example in their life. We do not see this with Paul and Timothy.
No Communication. Perhaps the ancient world lent itself to releasing leadership with its absence of technology. There were no quick cell phone calls or Skype meetings to “check-in”. Paul got on a boat and said, “I’ll write!” Even without these conveniences, there was assurance of a continued connection.
Don’t release too early. When speaking of the leaders Timothy was to find, they could not be too young in the faith or thrown into leadership (3:10). Timothy was ready for the task at hand.
If Paul and Timothy are not an example which challenges you, consider Jesus. He delegated and did not micro-manage. Consider the people He entrusted the mission to! This is worthy of some meditation.
At the end of the day, successful delegation requires relinquishing of control and trusting those you release. Anything else brings hurt, frustration, and poor results.
What are other advantages to delegation with trust?