There’s an important aspect to delegating something… After you delegate it… STOP DOING IT!!
If you’ve delegated a task or responsibility to someone, you can check how they’re going, you can ask them to keep you updated, you can give the suggestions about how they can get it done, but you can’t do it any more.
The whole point is delegating isn’t just to bring more people “in”, rather the big point of delegating is to free yourself up to do OTHER things.
Good delegation should create new opportunities… for you to do other good things.
… very next step to take.
They might have to call someone they’ve never spoken to before. They’re happy to do it. They’re keen to make a cold-turkey phone call. They know what they need to say, and how to have the conversation.
But they don’t know where to get the number from.
This is when you find out if they’re a self-starter or not. See a normal person will sit on his/her hands, not sure what to do, not sure how to get the number or who to call or whether they’re even meant to know it. They get something like writers-block; helpers-block. Or worse, they will feel like a failure… and they might even feel bitter towards you for setting them up with an impossible task.
A self-starter will go outside-the-box and get the number. They’ll work out a solution and if that doesn’t work, they’ll come up with another one. Heck, they’ll even call 10 people and end up getting the persons’ address and having the conversation on the front porch.
You know what happens then? Leaders stop delegating to the normal person and they only delegate to the self-starter.
Shame… when all the leader had to do was ask, “Ok, what’s the very first thing you’re going to have to do?”
This is a pretty simple one. If you’re appointing someone to do something that you’re normally responsible for, you don’t just explain that to them. You need to explain it to everyone else too.
If you’ve asked someone to organise a weekend away, you have to tell everyone that they’re doing it on your authority and they they are the organiser.
If you’ve asked someone to take over the kids program, you have to tell the parents that they are the go-to person if they have questions.
Otherwise, people will assume you haven’t appointed them, and they’ll just keep going back to you.
If leadership means making decisions, raising up new leaders means… delegating decisions.
If you want more people involved, you need more teams/groups for them to join. If you want more teams/groups, you need new team/group leaders. If you want to see and develop more leaders, you need to give them things to choose. You need to give them the opportunity to make some decisions. Slowly give them more and more authority and responsibility… until you have a leader.
This isn’t hard, it’s just risky. Say, “Hey, we need to work out a growth group social event, and I’d like you to decide what we do! The decisions up to you. I can give you some suggestions, and I can give you feedback on any ideas you have, but I want you too choose. Ok?”
Tip: make sure you give more than 2/3 suggestions and include things you WOULDN’T do.
A job is… “I want a coffee table with four legs, 1200x900x500, in wood.”
A brief is… “I have a coffee every morning and I want to out it down in something…”
A brief is a problem, a need, something that requires a solution.
This is what we should be giving our leaders, our MTSers and especially our designers; problems and the responsibility to implement solutions.
So don’t ask your designers for a postcard… Tell them you need to give people something so they know about the Christmas Carols night. They might still come up with a card… But at least it was their idea, and not just your job.
(This is a series of reflections on Horstman’s Laws)
Leadership is not the ability to control people. Because you can’t control people.
Some business (corporate) leaders think because they pay their people they should be able to control them – they think they should be able to specify outcomes.
In fact this isn’t just what some bosses think – it’s what some employees think too. They think they have to do what what their boss says because they’re paid.
But your boss doesn’t control your actions. You do.
Payment is just a motivator. It’s kinda’ like a bribe so that you’d be motivated to go to work rather than go to the beach.
So, in the end, employees and church volunteers are very similar. You can’t control either of them.
People’s actions flow from relationships and motivations – regardless of whether they come in the corporate world or church world.
The great reality is that Jesus’ death and life provides a motivation that outdoes any pay, position or person.
About 12 months ago I took an architect and a couple of our Committee of Elders to a 1970s warehouse and pitched the idea that by the grace of God we could use it as a home base for our church activities. They showed amazing trust in my intuition, they helped work out how to communicate it well to our church, and they pitched-in heaps. God showed amazing grace in getting it all finished too. It was a wild ride that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. But here’s some reflections a year out…
(If you don’t know about our HBC Hub, it’s for all our non-Sunday activities… we don’t do church there at all. It’s just for meetings, lunches, Women’s Bible Study, night time seminars, evangelistic series, welcome nights, anything… just not “sunday church”)
- There are ONLY 3 types of spaces you need in a church hub – these were the things I was looking for in the 80 or so places I looked at;
- car parking spaces,
- informal spaces (meeting rooms, conf rooms, cafe, entry, hot-swap desks, etc),
- utility spaces (kitchen, toilets, storage, photocopier, stationery, etc).
- (I’m really glad we didn’t use space for private offices. It can make it hard to have some conversations, but that’s what the meeting rooms are for. The space is too valuable.)
- Commercial building requirements are generally twice as ridiculous as residential ones.
- Labour is generally 4 times the cost of materials – so pray for helpers.
- Some helpers are great at one type of job, some are great at doing many. Get people doing their type of thing.
- People generally need to be given permission to start. If you find a good starter, he’s a God-send for helping others.
- It’s worth getting professionals to do jobs that everyone will look at in years to come… like setting the plaster on the gyprock.
- I’m glad we put the money into glass doors and extra glass panels in walls; it lets in heaps of light and it means there are no “unseen” meetings. Everything’s above board.
- Getting the right materials and tools on site at the right time took 80% of my time.
- While in the midst of it, I was very emotional. I was constantly on edge about how people would judge it, and if they thought it was a stupid idea. Even when they said they liked it, and they couldn’t wait, I still heard them as if they were complaining it was taking too long. Every question people asked sounded like an attack – but it wasn’t!! My ability to hear them positively went out the window. Towards the end of the project I took a week off before I became a complete wreck. That taught me a lot about my potential to mis-hear people’s intentions.
- Moving the staff coffee machine was the best way to get the staff to leave the old office.
- Some people clean well. Other people clean perfectly. Don’t get the former to do the last sweep, and don’t get the latter to come everyday.
- I wish I’d made the conference room a bit more square shaped. It’s 12m x 5m. It works. And I don’t think we really could have changed the layout, but it’s the only part I’d like to alter.
- The first thing we bought for the hub was a $300 leather sofa suite… 1 week before I even went to the Elders for approval. Having that sofa in the building the whole time meant a lot to me. I feel like I should leave it there when we move out.
- When you ask for donations, be clear that you will only take the things that you want. If people want you to take it on principle that it’s a donation, don’t. It’s amazing how many broken items were “offered”. Ask for people to donate new things, not old things.
- Have a list of things that you want to get, but you don’t have the money for… some people will only want to pay for those type of things. May as well let them.
- Have a celebration at the end. Rejoice in all the ways people have helped… time, skills, even the money that was donated and the praying that was done for it behind the scenes. We got people up and interviewed them simply on the basis that they gave money. It felt a bit weird but they sacrifice was just like all the others, so why not thank God for them?!