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Delegating vs. Dumping

We know that delegating is a key part of leading well. If you don't learn how to delegate or refuse to delegate, then you will limit your leadership.

Successful leaders are effective delegators.

But understand this - there is a big difference between proper delegation versus just dumping work on people.

Which do you do? Delegate or Dump?

Let's look at some key differences between the two. Delegating is giving up some control and assigning tasks to others...normally to the people that report to you. And good delegation not only assigns the tasks, but also gives people the authority to make decisions without smothering them.

Dumping involves dumping tasks to the people who report to you. Normally these are tasks that are boring and uninteresting. It's assigning the work but not providing the tools or authority so the person can take control of the process.

When you dump something on a team member, it often leads to negative outcomes. But when you delegate properly, your teammates will feel valued and will own the work.

As a leader, if you delegate well, it will free up time that you can spend focusing on tasks that only you, as the leader, can fulfill.

A sign of dumping is this - you dump the tasks on your team mates without giving them proper direction or guidance on how you want it accomplished.

This leads to them not finishing the task with the proper outcome. But before you point the finger at them, look at your leadership. Are you setting them up for success to begin with?

Delegation makes sure the team member understands the task you are asking them to complete. Dumping doesn't take the time to help the person understand what is needed to complete the task.

Delegation matches the task to a person who has the skills and knowledge to complete the assignment. Dumping assigns tasks randomly without finding a person who is a good fit for the task.

Delegation provides "follow-up." This means the person offers support, encouragement, feedback and proper instruction along the way. Dumping says "good luck with that."

Delegation uses the task to help build up the team member assigned to it. Dumping uses the team member to complete what you need done. The team member ends up feeling used instead of feeling valued. Delegation builds people. Dumping disheartens people.

I have failed at this several times over the years. I specifically remember a time when a team member called out sick on Sunday morning. Desperate, I was looked for someone who could lead that room as a substitute.

I had a young man who had just started serving in a 5th grade group. When I saw him, I thought, "There is the answer for this dilemma. I will pull him into the other class as the sub teacher...even though he has no experience and hasn't looked at the lesson.

I moved him over and somehow he survived the hour. But that was about it...he just survived. And that was my fault. I had dumped this on him instead of delegating it to him by providing the proper training ahead of time.

As I followed up with him, I found out that he felt used. He felt de-valuated because I had not offered him the necessary training and had just shoved him into a room.

I knew he was correct and I apologized to him. It taught me a valuable lesson about delegating vs. dumping.

Do you also see the difference? I hope this has been helpful. Learn to delegate properly and you will see your team members serving with a smile on their face.

p.s. Have you read my book "Lead Well in Children's Ministry?" Check it out at this link. It will help take your ministry to the next level.


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