Don’t Delegate…yet. Questions to ask before giving it away.

By now you’ve probably heard your fair share of teachings telling you the importance of delegating. You can’t do it all. You’ll burn out. Remember Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, etc. You know you need to delegate, you might even do it from time to time. In my conversations with Pastors I run into two types: 1) pastors who don’t delegate, or don’t delegate as much as they should, and 2) pastors who delegate but don’t do a very good job of it…and they’ll admit it. The trick to delegating is to do it well.

There are two ways to know if the act of delegating failed. 1) The thing delegated drops in it’s quality 40% or better and stays that way 6 to 8 weeks. I say this because sometimes we need to be patient with a dip while the person is going through a learning curve. 2) The person you delegated to comes back to you and says, “Here…I don’t want it. You take it back.”

Not every failed attempt to delegate is your fault, sometimes it’s the delegatee not the delegator. The following are some questions to ask before you hand a responsibility over to someone. Going over these simple questions will greatly reduce the number of time delegation fails.

1. Have I adequately prayed, asking the Holy Spirit to lead me to the right person?

2. What type of skills, giftings, passions am I looking for in the person I choose?

3. Who can do what I do (the area I want to delegate) at least 70% as well as me?

4. Have I sought a second opinion from someone about delegating to this person?

5. When will I approach the person to set up a meeting?

6. What information will I need to have with me for my meeting once it’s scheduled?

7. Who will be effected by this persons new task?

8. Do any of these who will be effected need to be informed ahead of time?

9. What training will they need?

10. What time commitment will need to be made to get them ready?

11. What resources will they need to carry out their responsibilities?

12. Have I communicated to them that this can be on a trial basis with a review after an agreed upon period of time? If it’s not working for them or for you then they can get out gracefully.

13. Have I built an off-ramp? An off-ramp provides a way out (see question 12). We need to provide training in the area of how one resigns in a responsible way from a ministry.

14. How much time will I give this person before they give me an answer?

15. Do I have a second choice in case this person decides against taking on this task?

16. Specifically, how much time will this free up for me? For example, if you lead a small group that takes you one hour to prepare for and two hours to lead, and if you intend to give this group over to someone else and you no longer attend, then you’ve saved yourself three hours a week.

17. Do I have a list of remaining action steps I will need to take in order of importance?

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