For years I’v said, “Delegate or Suffocate.” Some leaders have a difficult time delegating decision-making authority to others. There may be a number of reasons for this. 

They don’t really trust others on the team to do an adequate job. They fear that delegated authority might result in decision they don’t like. They Fear that someone else might even do a better job than they would have done and that’s threatening to them. They like being in control of most things. 

I don’t believe that leaders are at their best when they, for whatever reason, do too much and don’t share leadership responsibility with others. Chuck Lawless shares some excellent steps to being a better delegator.

Guest post by Chuck Lawless

I struggle with delegating. At the same time, though, I know that good leadership—and more importantly, biblical discipleship—requires investing in others and granting them responsibilities. Here’s a simple process to get started in that direction:  

  1. Think theologically. God puts the Body of Christ together as He wishes (1 Cor. 12), with “hands” and “feet,” etc., in their right place. When we do everything ourselves, we hinder this body from being the body.  
  2. Think practically. Delegating means more work at first while we’re equipping others to do the work. In the long run, though, delegation saves us time and energy.  
  3. Repent. Our unwillingness to let go of things is not a sign of our good leadership; it’s ultimately a sign of our ego. It says, “Nobody can do this as well as I can”—and we must confess that tendency.  
  4. Capture and cast vision. See, and help others see, the picture of a church filled with faithful workers. See multiple generations of laborers serving together. Trust that that vision is fulfilled one person at a time.  
  5. Pray. Jesus told us to pray for more laborers (Luke 10:1-2). That’s a critical step in delegating: pray for God to raise up the next leaders.   
  6. Watch. Keep your eyes open for church members who show faithfulness and fruitfulness. They might be the next laborers to train.   
  7. Train one. Delegating all tasks to untrained people can be risky. Instead, begin delegating by training one person to do one thing. Start somewhere.  
  8. Let that one thing go. Go ahead—let the person you trained take on one of your tasks. Trust your training you provided.
  9. Be okay with messiness. That happens sometimes when you turn things over to others.It’s possible that others won’t do things as well as you’d like . . . at least at first. If you must have perfection at all times, you won’t delegate. 
  10. Be patient. Give others time to grow with experience. They might do better than you ever did.
  11. Publicly thank others who serve well. If you want new workers to get on board with the church’s ministry, make sure you publicly say “thank you” to those who are serving now. Today’s gratitude can help produce tomorrow’s workers. 
  12. Thank God. Thank Him for giving you the wisdom to delegate. Thank Him for members who are willing to take on responsibilities. Thank Him for the church.