Empowering other people on the team to be leaders—it’s called delegation—is critical to a successful church or organization. Every leader talks about delegation, but few truly empower others to be leaders. It’s a frustration I hear frequently from staff members of churches.
Frankly, as one with a strength (StrengthFinders) of command, I can easily take over if no one else takes the lead. It takes discipline as a leader, but I want to create an environment of healthy empowerment. I want to lead a church that produces leaders—disciples who actually make disciples.
But, how do you know whether healthy empowerment is occurring?
I don’t know if we can follow a script, but perhaps there are some principles that need to be in place to know we are creating cultures conducive to empowerment.
Here are seven signs I look for in healthy empowerment:
(This is written from the perspective of those being empowered—“you” being the one empowering.)
Confidence is conveyed
They know you believe they can do the job. They aren’t questioning your belief in or support of them. People are less likely to take risks if they feel you will always second-guess them.
Expectations are clearly communicated
They know what a win looks like in your eyes and what is required of them to complete the task. You’ve not left them guessing. You stay available to them through the process if questions arise.
Authority has been granted
They have the power to script the path to accomplishment. They don’t need to “check-in” for approval on every decision they make.
Permission to fail is assured
They know if it doesn’t work they will be encouraged to try again. You won’t hold it against them and you can learn together to improve the next time.
Resources are adequate
They have the training, tools and people to accomplish the task—including your support.
Their back is protected
They know their decisions will be backed by senior leadership—by you. If the complainers rise—which they will—you will be there to defend their efforts.
Recognition is shared
They know they won’t do all the work just for you—or someone else—to get the credit. They will be adequately appreciated for their work.
Consider your process of delegation. Consider my list.
How are you doing?