I am seeking to answer questions sent to me. If you have any feel free to write to me with ‘Question’ in the subject line.
This one is about delegation
As an administrator I am caught between the 2 worlds of the ‘doing the thing yourself’ world & the ‘delegate it to others and keep myself free’ world. Right now I am in the 1st world and how should I get out of it. Because at the end it finally stops with me and so I might as well do it because if others don’t do it properly then I have to do it anyway.
This is a familiar challenge to the efficient and gifted administrator (and maybe others!). I think there are three things to recognise and consider.
On my business card I have ‘Pursuing Excellence’. I am a great believer in doing things well. I believe this is God’s heart (at creation he repeatedly looked on what he had created and said it was good Gen 1:4, 10 etc). I long for the day when the world comes to the church to find out how to do things well. This is the philosophy behind the Ministry Health Checks I carry out to help churches with their ministries with the poor ie how to evaluate a ministry and improve it, with an action plan to help them.
But beware perfectionism. That can be a rotten ‘master’ and lead to unnecessary attention to detail. Only God is perfect. To aim high is good. To strive to be perfect will only lead to frustration and disappointment, even burnout.
We need each other; it is no accident that we are called the body of Christ. In I Cor 12 and elsewhere Paul uses the analogy of the body to show that we are not all the same; to try to ‘do it all’ yourself will lead to failure as this is not God’s plan. ‘If the foot should say, “because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body”, that would not make it any less a part of the body’ (I Cor 12:15). It is not easy to feed yourself with your feet nor to walk on your hands! Each needs the other.
So, as an administrator who is used to getting things done try to be disciplined in being willing to get others involved. Not only will it save you from burnout but, if approached appropriately, people like to be asked and so you are blessing them! At first it may take a bit longer but as people develop you will be the winner with more time available to you for other purposes.
3. Developing others
As a corollary to the above try to delegate strategically so that the other person’s skills are being developed. I acknowledge that someone may not do it as well as you at first but we all have to learn. To give a responsibility or task to someone and show them how to do it is a great opportunity to teach them and develop their skills. So to keep a task to yourself can even be seen as selfish!
Jesus himself delegated. When feeding the 5000 he handed the rolls and fish to his disciples to distribute. I don’t believe this was only about getting the food distributed more quickly. It also developed their faith. Can you imagine their surprise when they say the bread multiplying in their hands?! And this was despite the fact that they had just returned from a ministry trip when they saw the miraculous happen (see Mark 6).
Delegation can and should be strategic. Next time you are tempted to get on and do something yourself, stop! Consider if there is someone else you can bless by inviting them to do it with or for you.