Ed. note: There are many misunderstandings about delegation in the church office and I love it that Gayle starts out this article with sharing what it is not. We so often make the mistakes of believing these misconceptions and it keeps us from getting all the work done that needs to be done. Read her advice and learn to delegate with joy.
In church offices there are very often more tasks to do than hands to do them. As the ministry assistant you may see every job as yours alone. But, no matter how sincere the effort, so doing is seldom the best use of your time. Whenever you perform work that someone else could do, you are keeping yourself from the very important responsibilities that only you can do. One good way to multiply your time is through delegation.
Successful delegation involves more than assigning tasks. Success actually starts with the mindset of the person doing the delegating. It is essential to understand delegation is not:
• shirking your own responsibilities
• dumping unwanted work on another
• abdicating accountability
• taking advantage of anyone
Today’s wise supervisors recognize delegation as an indispensable management skill that allows assistants to balance the many demands of ministry with a realistic assessment of what can be done personally. Alleffective
• Delegate? Who to?
If you are the office manager and supervise assistants, most often you delegate to them. If you are an assistant, volunteers are a good choice. Actually, recruits is a better word—you want to choose your helpers.
• Be clear about your goals.
The process begins by writing down very specifically what the job is, deadlines involved, and any necessary instructions. I hear you thinking, “I could do the job myself in the time it takes to do that.” If that is truly the case and this is a one-time task, go ahead and do it yourself. Otherwise, follow through and invest a little time now to save big time later.
• Choose personnel carefully.
Issuing a blanket announcement for volunteers is not the best idea. It may take more time (that again!) but it is better to match the tasks you have in mind with specific people suited for those tasks. Everyone can do something, but not everyone can do everything.
Many churches distribute annual talent surveys. Members indicate interests and skills they are willing to share. Surveys are a great tool to use when considering who might do what.
• Give adequate instruction.
The amount of guidance necessary varies with the task, but short written directions are advisable for all but the most basic. Even for simple jobs, give a demonstration and leave a sample of what the finished product should look like. Folding a brochure correctly is second nature for you; it may not be for your willing helper.
• Assign authority.
While you as supervisor are ultimately accountable, as much as possible let the recruit “own” the job and have the authority to manage it. On complex jobs where multiple volunteers have areas of authority, plan to avoid gaps or overlaps. The idea is to retain your position as leader while demonstrating your respect for the efforts of others and your trust in their abilities.
To go to Part Two, CLICK HERE
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