6 "Must Haves" for Effective Delegation

It's time to retire the old mantra, "If you want it done right, you've got to do it yourself." No doubt this includes ministers and pastors. We are not called to get it right and do it on our own. We are clearly called by God to equip His people for works of service.

Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. [Ephesians 4:11-13 NLT]

In other words, this is simply not a question of, "Should I delegate?" It's a question of, "How do I delegate effectively?" Here are the 6 "must haves" that I try and implement with my teams constantly.

Pray with and for your team

It always sounds like the cliché answer, but the reality is that when many of us have a good idea, we just run with it without first humbly imploring God to be with us. We begin teams without praying. We assume the direction we are going is God's direction. And even once we begin, we don't always pray for our teams and those serving alongside of us.

It may be cliché, but the reality is that there's no better place to start than imploring God for guidance and strength.

Clear expectations

Have you ever had a job where your end goal wasn't clear? What's the win in all this? My son asks this question with homework all the time; what's the point? Your team leaders and volunteers expect the same. You must communicate clear expectations so everyone is on the same page.

As for the specific expectations you land on, that's up to you and your team. They should help you build them so that they also maintain a level of ownership. Regardless of how you ultimately come to the decision, they must be clear.

Reasonable accountability

You must have reasonable accountability for your volunteers. Unless your delegating to staff and one of the options for failure is firing, you can't fire a volunteer (technically). You must come up with a level of accountability so that everyone knows exactly what needs to be done and what's at stake. 

This can often be measured against the vision. The vision for your organization determines accountability. If the vision is not becoming a reality, there's probably a need for a change somewhere. But keep in mind, your level of accountability for staff must be very different from the working mom of three who is serving in your children's ministry area. You must be wise here. Too much pressure can create a culture where no one wants to work or serve with you.

Consistent communication

Weekly emails. Phone calls. Team meetings. Whatever it takes, communicate with your teams. I have made a habit to ask my team leaders how they prefer to be communicated with; email, phone call, text, face-to-face, etc. I try to follow up with them in the way that communicates most clearly with them.

You must maintain consistent communication or else your team won't believe you are in it with them. They will believe you just wanted to get rid of a job on your to-do list. Not communicating well, communicates a whole lot of what you probably don't want to communicate.

Great support & tools

I have learned to ask, "How can I help you succeed? What do you need from me?" Sometimes that's a new tool or resource. Maybe your entire team needs to be set up on Asana or Trello to manage and maintain accountability. Maybe they need specific training or to learn a new skill. Effective delegation means you are taking the time to help them succeed and what you have asked them to do. 

Remember, you are equipping God's people for works of service. So, equip them. Get them what they need to be successful. Support them in a way that says, "Eternity is on the line. I'm with you."

Praise publicly & coach privately

No one wants to be called out by the boss in a meeting. It's uncomfortable, awkward and painful. What we all prefer is to have the difficult conversation behind closed doors. So in front of your church or team, be sure to praise the people who are working alongside you. Don't hesitate to give them all the credit and make them look good. Any coaching that must be done, better be over a cup of coffee and done in a way that says, "I'm with you. But this can be better."

These are my 6 "must haves" for effective delegation. What have you found that works well when it comes to delegation and equipping people in your sphere of influence?