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The Power of Delegation: Part 2

Becoming a "leader of leaders" requires effective empowerment. If you haven’t read The Power of Delegation: Part 1, check it out here.

Effective delegation typically follows four phases: Preparation > Progression > Production > Possession. When a team member is given a project or ongoing ministry to tackle, they’re made aware of the process as well as the goal.


In the Preparation phase, the team member is given a picture of the problem and a clear assignment: explore, do research and gather information. For example, suppose you recognize that a significant number of people in your church are single parents and as a result you’ve discovered that many are frustrated with the quality and price of daycare centers in your community. What’s more, you believe a daycare could meet a huge “felt need” for people outside your church who are struggling as well. You commission Julia—a leadership team member—the assignment to research the problem. You meet to discuss potential angles: contact churches in other communities that run daycares, look at the financial challenges and liabilities, interview church members, explore the possibilities within your children’s ministries, and so on. But ultimately, it’s her project to think through the research angles. There is a reasonable calendar date for her report and you offer any help she needs, including a letter of authorization or a phone call to a key person in the community. But essentially, Julia runs the research herself along with any volunteers she recruits to help her. Once or twice during the research process, you meet briefly with Julia just to check in, offer any help on any roadblocks and reconfirm the due date for her research report. YOUR ROLE: Clarifying and commissioning the assignment MEETINGS: Infrequent; once or twice during an agreed upon completion date


The Progression phase follows exploration with the go-ahead to begin the process. In Julia’s case, after her report and her suggestion that operating a daycare is not only viable, but would be a huge benefit to the community, you give her the go-ahead to launch it. Julia is excited, scared, nervous, but hungry to prove her value to the organization. In this phase, you may have weekly meetings with her in order to be updated with her progress. You’ve both agreed on the final product, but not with telling her how. She knows she has your support and interest and may ask for advice or feedback on something she’s trying. More than anything, you’re watching her leadership capacity, resource management and ability to move a project along a timeline. You’re engaged, but not actually involved in the tactics. YOUR ROLE: Sounding board MEETINGS: Frequent; weekly depending on the scope of the project or department


In this phase you’re looking at results and outcomes. The daycare is in the early stages of operations; you want to know the metrics: Is it self-sustaining? What are the ongoing costs of operations? What’s the satisfaction quotient of the users? What factors were unexpected?—and so on. You’re also monitoring Julia’s capacity and personal involvement and her ability to delegate as well; hopefully, your modeling has given her a delegation template that she can use with her volunteers. YOUR ROLE: “Trustee”; you’re looking for results MEETINGS: A bit less frequent; monthly


In the final delegation phase, there is a clear, formalized handoff of ownership: Julia is fully in charge and accepts the responsibility of its success and reaps the benefits—she is in possession of this department/project/area. This is less about giving it away and more about entrusting—it rewards your leader with an intrinsic reward that they are trusted with something important to you and to the organization. Your meetings with her—on this particular task—are informal and loosely once-a-quarter. At this point, you provide sincere affirmation and gratefulness for a job well done with periodic encouragement. YOUR ROLE: Cheerleader! MEETINGS: Rarely & informal Developing these four phases in your leadership development track is vital. While the process may seem slow and requires intentionality, the reproducibility of the system is simple and effective…and the ROI—Return On Investment (or to use Jesus' term: fruitfulness)—is exponential!

Dave Workman | Elemental Churches


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