It’s inherent in a leader’s soul to want to be in charge. To drive the ball down the court. To score. But organizations are a team sport and if one person hogs the ball – even if it’s the captain – the whole team suffers. It can be challenging to release responsibility to others, but it’s a key to healthy ministry growth.
When I started at our ministry, I was the only employee. Over the years we’ve grown to 25 staffers, and I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve delegated to others. In one instance, I’d been doing abstinence education in public schools for years. Two memories stand out. The first was the drive home from my debut presentation. The kids liked it, got it, and I thought to myself, “I was born for this!” The second memory was ten years later when it was time to hand it over. My other responsibilities had increased, plus I could see obvious gifting in another staffer. The first time I observed her speaking, I hoped I wouldn’t be wracked with jealousy. I could tell a good story, but she had a theatre background and could literally act them out – giving the characters personalities and accents. As she wowed the crowd, God graced me to rejoice in how readily the students responded to her and received the message.
1. Accept your limitations. We may have started in ministry as the “Jack of all trades,” but in reality we’re not the master of everything. Whether we’re stretched for time, or someone else is better suited for the task – it’s important to accurately assess and accept our limitations.
2. Assess others’ giftings. Keep your eye peeled for the giftings of others. Encourage staffers in their strengths. Give them opportunities to take risks, make mistakes, and learn. Look for ways to engage their talents and increase their responsibility.
3. Time the pass. When you see that someone is able to take on one of your projects, and you sense your grace for it lessening – it’s likely time to pass it on. Doing so will enable the employee and the project to grow, and it will free you up for other priorities.
4. Let go. When you’ve turned over an assignment, allow the staffer to make it their own. They’ll do it differently from you, which is most often a good thing. Observe their progress, offer feedback, and don’t hover. J
5. Stay in your sweet spot. Determine which areas of responsibility you do best and are essential to your role. Fulfill them with wholehearted passion. And remember that your true identity comes from your heavenly Father.
Learning to release responsibility to others is essential for maximizing organizational effectiveness. Otherwise, an organization can’t expand beyond its leader’s giftings. Owning our limitations and delegating to others will keep us from limiting our organization’s growth.
“Owning our limitations and delegating to others will keep us from limiting our organization’s growth.”-Lisa Hosler
In my view, the longer we’re in ministry and the older we are, the more crystallized our giftings become. We may start out as the Jack of all trades and master of none. But as time goes on, God sends more Jacks and Jills to take things on, and we’re able to truly master our primary areas of giftedness. So delegate, celebrate others’ successes, and zero in on the handful of responsibilities you’re called to as senior leader.
“For everything there is a season, and a time to every matter under heaven: a time to keep, and a time to cast away.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 6b
What have you learned about releasing responsibilities to others? Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comment Section below.