Reblog – Are you assigning or delegating?

This is one of the helpful distinctions that the Manager-Tools guys make… And it suits volunteer organisations like churches pretty well.

When you talk to someone about taking on a task or a project, work out whether you are assigning it to them, or delegating it to them.

The difference? Bosses assign work to employees; “here, you are responsible for this. This is your ‘job’”. Leaders delegate their responsibilities to volunteers; “Hey, I’d like you to help us by taking on this thing I’m responsible for. Keen?”

A few notable differences:

– assignments can be questioned, but in the end, they can’t be declined.

– the line of responsibility is more vague when delegating. Who’s really responsible for what at which point?

Just be a bit more careful with using the word “idea”

Words means different things to different people. I heard about a daughter who told her dad that a twig had fallen on the family car, but that “twig” was an inch thick and left a dent.
The word “idea” is (shock-alert) more varied than that. And it can cause people real misunderstandings.
See, some people really like, “throwing around ideas”. But some people think that means coming up with new ideas, brainstorming, imagination. Other people think that means we get existing values, structures, programs and we tear them apart, assess them, dash them against the rocks.
So, one sentence, two very different emotional responses.
The manager-tools guys note this too. They point out that if you ask “does anyone have any ideas about this”, some people will make suggestions about lunch, others will make suggestions about setting a whole new direction for the organisation.
The point is, “ideas” is such a vague term that, if you’re going to use it, you need to give some control or limits or boundaries to specify what type of “ideas” you’re looking for.

Situational Leadership (Styles 1-4)

Scott Parry-Jones from EV helped us think about this. There are two ways to think about how your leading others; the authority continuum, and the discussion continuum.

The authority continuum ranges from “I have all the authority” right over to “I’m giving you all the authority”. Another way of seeing this is the former being “You will do exactly what I do, no questions, no creativity” and the later being “You can do whatever you want, be as creative as you want”.

The discussion continuum ranges from “We’re not going to discuss this often at all; maybe an email every now and then.” all the way over to “We’re going to discuss this all the time; weekly meetings and whenever we get the chance!”

Where does your “natural” leadership style fit on each continuum? How do you prefer to lead people?

What about being led? How do you prefer to be lead? How much Authority do you like being given? How much discussion do you like being brought in on?