In my first post I talked about my hangup about feeling too young to lead. This unbiblical mindset held us back from reaching our full ministry potential.
Recently I invited an executive coach to meet one-on-one with our entire ministry team. Among his many tools, he uses the Birkman Personality Assessment. The Birkman tool helps us find our everyday interpersonal style, underlying motivations, expectations and the signs of stress behavior. Every staff member answered 125 probing questions.
Along with using Spiritual gift assessment tools, I’ve been engaged in this personality assessment process several times in recent years. It’s been amazingly helpful to my leadership.
As you might expect, we discovered that each of us is uniquely wired. Like snowflakes, no two of us are the same.
I wish I had gone through this process when I was a much younger lead pastor. Why? I would have been less reluctant to delegate tasks to volunteers or our full-time ministry staff.
It’s biblical to delegate. I recall Jethro‘s advice to his son-in-law, Moses in Exodus 18:
“13….Why do you alone sit, and all the people stand before you from morning until evening?” ….17 .…“The thing that you do is not good. 18 Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out….21 Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. 22 And let them judge the people at all times. Then it will be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they themselves shall judge. So it will be easier for you, for they will bear the burden with you. 23 If you do this thing, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure….”
The “Jethro Principle” is so vital, yet, as a young lead pastor I had problems fully implementing it. What caused this? Many of the tasks and responsibilities that I would have loved to delegate were in my mind tiresome and in some cases, loathsome. I wouldn’t wish them on anyone. “How selfish of me — how unfair of me — to hand off such “nasty” jobs to others!”
But now, in my later years in leadership, I finally “get it.” We’re all wired differently — our gift sets, motivations, and capacity. I realize now that many of the tasks that I find so unpleasant are the very things that some others around me actually get excited about, find easy to do, and feel fulfilled in doing.
One of my teammates loves problem solving. I can do without problems, thank you very much. But he’s the kind of guy who can’t wait to sit with a couple in financial crisis and help get their house in order. I say Yuck He says, “Yes!”
The Birkman personality assessment reveals that I’m heavily weighted toward blue sky thinking. Also, I have a need to communicate and persuade. I’ve got a big ‘literary’ bent that I need to express in writing and teaching. But certain people on our team loathe and dread the thought of teaching a class or preaching a sermon. Yet, the same people would get a kick out of editing a video to illustrate my sermon. Another enjoys formatting and editing written sermons for our website. Such tasks drive me nuts! But they look at me and think to themselves; “I’d hate walk in your shoes!”
So I’ve had a major paradigm shift about delegation. I wish it hadn’t taken so me long to get this into my thick skull. All these years I was withholding from my colleagues roles and responsibilities that make their life worth living. How selfish and unfair of me to rob them of their joy!
As a leader, do you have trouble delegating? If so, what holds you back? Share your experience.