How to Delegate

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Ephesians 5:21

“Wow, you’re good at that” my colleague told me.

“Good at what?” I questioned. 

“Giving people what falls into their camp.”

In other words, she was recognizing that I could delegate appropriately, with the right balance of challenge and workload. What she doesn’t know is the years of practice, rejection, burnout, and all the things that come with delegation. 

What I’ve learned about delegation comes also, in part, from Manager Tools. The initial request is in 4 parts:

  1. First, there’s the question: “Hey, I’ve got a project that I’d like your help with.” 
  2. Then, a flyover: “There’s a report that needs an additional column of data.” 
  3. Why you’ve chosen the person: “I’ve seen you do this level of detailed work before, and I think you’re the right person for the job.” 
  4. And finally, the question with a due date, “Could you help me with this report by next Friday?”

I’ve had people tell me, “No.” Which, if it becomes a trend, are signs to pay attention to and assess.

I’ve also had people tell me “Yes” and then didn’t do it. The person may be ill-equipped, or have too many (or wrong) priorities, or didn’t know where to start so they ignored it.

Once that initial step is taken, it’s the follow-up that needs to happen. I immediately explain the details once they’ve said yes. After that, making sure the person has what they need, understands the reason why it’s important, and can fit it into the workflow, is all part of the delegation. 

Sometimes, it feels easier to “just do it myself” rather than offer it to someone else, especially if there’s pressure to get it done soon. That’s when I remind myself of Ephesians 5:21. For me to submit to others means to recognize their talents, strengths, and part in the organization/team. To overrun them by doing it myself means I’ve lost respect that they have the tools and talent to learn how to do it. Yes, it might be slower at the first go-around, but everyone has a first time–including the first time I did that task.

The verse today also reminds me that delegation starts with me understanding how God delegates. He doesn’t provide us a task (say, the Great Commission) without a level of support and tips along the way. He also doesn’t take things back when we fail or make a mistake. Instead, he gives grace and provides a cushion for us to fall into while we learn a better way. 

Do the four parts. Provide support. Those are the two big keys to proper delegation and submitting to one another.

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© 2022, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

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