Why Refusing To Delegate Could Be Detrimental by Shayna Fowler
“Here, you need to read this book,” a thin, red, white and blue hardback slides across his desk.
“If You Want It Done Right, You Don’t Have to Do It Yourself? I’m skeptical.”
“Shayna, there is no such thing as a successful business, ministry, or leader that has not learned to harness the power of effective delegation,” my dad swivels his chair around and resumes typing (otherwise known as a mic drop in the business world).
I have a confession to make: I’m a bit of a control freak. You see, I am a firm believer in excellence and efficiency at all costs, and though I believe they are great values, I have often sacrificed other values (I.E. my sanity, kindness, good leadership skills or even friendships) on their altar. I used to believe that delegation was the process of wasting my time trying to explain a task to someone else, only to have them do it wrong. The truth is, there is nothing excellent about a controlling dictator who believes they are the only one capable of success. In fact, the need to do everything myself stands in direct opposition to efficiency. Ultimately, as a Christian in business, I needed to understand that delegation is not just a helpful concept, it is a Biblical model. Can you imagine if Jesus refused to return to Heaven because He was not convinced His disciples could fulfill the call He gave them in Matthew 28:19?
He said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (NIV).
In SSV (Shayna’s Standard Version), Matthew 28:19 would have read something like, “Therefore, let’s go together — you can follow directly in my footsteps as long as you don’t question the path I’m taking, and you can watch me baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Why? Because in the amount of time it would take me to teach you how to baptize, I could have baptized at least 20 people.”
As much as I would like to believe that the root of my control issues were my well-intentioned values of excellence and efficiency, realistically, it’s pride. If God Himself chose to delegate the task of building His kingdom (arguably the most important project ever assigned), who am I to believe I should (or even can) do it all myself?
Friends, this revelation punched me in the stomach and left me breathless.
“Okay, I’ll delegate,” I mumbled to myself. “But how?”
And so sparked the conversation with my dad and the recommendation of one of the best books I have ever read. In an attempt to convince you to read it for yourself, I will do a bullet point summary on a few of my favorite delegation tips. However, If You Want It Done Right You Don’t Have to Do It Yourself by Donna M. Genett can be read in one day and costs $1.99 used at Barnes and Noble! Come on, somebody.
And finally, the art of effective delegation:
- Clearly define and describe each task
- Be specific
- Ask for it to be repeated back to ensure he or she fully understands what is expected
- Clearly define the time frame within which the task must be completed
- Define the level of authority along with the task
- The authority to recommend
- The authority to inform and initiate
- The authority to act
- Set up checkpoint meetings to hear what’s happening and to offer guidance, if necessary
- Conclude the delegation process with a debriefing session to discuss what went well, what could have been improved, and what has been learned.
One of the most valuable things I learned from this book as it translates to business, ministry or leadership, in general, is that the failure of a project is primarily a result of my delegation (or lack thereof). Friends, I truly believe we were not made to do life alone in any capacity, including the way we live, lead, and expand the Kingdom of our God.
In summary, the key to success in business, ministry or leadership is effective delegation. If Jesus Himself delegated, so should you and I! And lastly, you CAN put a price on sanity — $1.99 to be exact.
Thanks so much, friends, for your time in reading this, and thank you, Tyler, for the opportunity to share!
All the best,