Delegation Guidelines

By Dave Smith

Christian organizations differ from secular ones, not only in their goals and purpose, but by their very nature and often in size and resources. In general, leaders of Christian organizations believe that they must work with people of lower skills and experience. All this far too often makes the Christian leader a poor delegator.

I. What Is Delegation?

A. It is not assigning a task to someone for which he is already responsible

B. Delegation is assigning to someone else part of your job

C. Part of your task must be delegated

D. You cannot delegate the responsibility for the successful completion of your ministry, but you can delegate some tasks that you would normally do

II. Why People Are Confused About Delegation

A. No clear lines of authority

B. No organizational chart or well-stated goals

C. Leaders may not know how to delegate

III. Steps To Successful Delegation

A. Decide what needs to be done

Clearly define all tasks and write them out

B. Select the best person for the job

1. Give the high-risk jobs to your most capable people

2. Low risk jobs can be given to less skilled people

C. Make the assignment clear

Go over the job description together and agree on the content

D. Establish level of authority

Use the freedom scale here, giving those with more abilities greater freedom

E. Anticipate problems

Make sure he knows how to get to you if he needs additional help

F. Build in check points

Set a schedule with the person for times when you will get together to check progress

G. Evaluate and build on results

See what went right and what went wrong and praise or correct

IV. When Should You Delegate?

A. Delegate as many routine tasks as possible

B. Delegate things you do not have time for

These may be things you like to do and do well

C. Delegate to others who have special skills

V. When Not To Delegate

A. You can’t delegate responsibility for your job

B. Don’t delegate policy items, decisions that affect the total operation or the organization

C. Don’t delegate to pass the buck

VI. The Benefits Of Delegation

A. It frees you for higher priority items

B. It gives other people experience and helps you assess their capability

VII. Pitfalls of Delegation

A. People assume they have more authority than you have given them; they fail to report back, and you lose control

B. What we delegate may get in the way of the thing the delegate is already working on

VIII. Why Don’t We Delegate More?

A. Fear that someone will do it better than us

B. We may like to do it ourselves

C. We don’t know how to delegate

IX. There Are Two Special Problems For The Christian Organization

A. The first is the use of volunteer workers

1. When you delegate part of your work to a volunteer, it is especially important that you make sure that:

a. You believe that he can do the job

b. You have a clear understanding about when he is going to report back to you

c. You have all the backup assistance that you or he may need

2. By carefully spelling out what is to be delegated, and checking with the delegate to be sure that he has both the time and the know-how to do the job, much of this problem can be overcome

B. A second problem is that your subordinates believe that they know what’s best for the organization and instead of seeing the task that you have delegated to them as coming from you, they will see it as part of the organization’s task

1. With such a perception, their feedback to you and communication to you about what they are doing can easily break down

2. This kind of problem can best be handled by clearly spelling out ahead of time what is to be done and what are the checking points along the way


Start by making a list of all the jobs that you believe you could delegate

1. Analyze the kinds of people to whom you could delegate them

2. Write a clear statement of what it is you want to have done

3. Contact your potential people and see if they are willing and able

4. List the things you are going to delegate and set dates for follow-up

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