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Biggest Mistakes In Delegation

In recent articles we have written about why delegation is important, some of the hindrances to delegation, and the skills required to be an effective delegator. By now I hope you are convinced that delegation is a key to being an effective church leader.

In this article we turn our attention to the biggest mistakes leaders tend to make when delegating assignments and responsibilities.

Nine Biggest Mistakes Leaders Make When Delegating

No one said delegating is easy. In fact, it may be one of the most challenging things you do as a leader. Mistakes in delegation are inevitable, but here are the biggest mistakes you should try to avoid.

Lack of Authority: Delegating a responsibility to someone without giving them the full authority and backing to accomplish the responsibility is a cardinal sin of delegation. Delegated authority should be adequate to enable the employee to take all the actions required for effective performance. Managers/Supervisors should be careful to delegate authority that is commensurate with an employee’s responsibilities and is as much as they can effectively handle.

Lack of Clear Expectations: Some degree of sub-optimal results is virtually guaranteed when a Manager/Supervisor fails to communicate his/her expectations, establish performance goals, and clarify the desired outcomes of a delegated assignment.

Lack of Adequate Controls: Managers/Supervisors who fail to provide the necessary policies, guidelines, rules, procedures and establish regular check points along the way set themselves up for disappointing results and set the employee up to fail. Such controls provide the employee with a framework for making wise decisions and assures the Manager/Supervisor that the delegated assignment stays on track.

Lack of Feedback: It has been said for good reason that feedback is the breakfast of champions. It is a proven ingredient for successful delegation. A Manager/Supervisor who fails to provide timely and necessary feedback places the entire responsibility for communication on the shoulders of the subordinate and risks misunderstandings and sub-optimal results.

Lack of Resources: Managers/Supervisors who fail to offer an employee the training and provide the required human, financial, technological and material resources to effectively accomplish a delegated task will frustrate their employees and endanger the success of the delegated assignment.

Too Much Interference: Though timely feedback and adequate controls are crucial, too often Managers/Supervisors can’t resist the temptation to constantly tell the employee how to do the task or allow them to make the necessary decisions to accomplish the task. As noted earlier, this most often is due to a lack of trust, but the Manager/Supervisor must remember that the reason a task or responsibility is delegated is to free him/her from having to do the task or make the decisions, which have been determined to be of less importance than his/her bigger and broader responsibilities.

Lack of Tolerance of Mistakes: It is inevitable that at some point a subordinate will make the wrong decision or fail to properly execute a delegated task. When the Manager/Supervisor demonstrates strong disapproval, removes responsibility, or demonstrates a lack of grace the employee loses confidence and is reluctant to take on additional responsibilities in the future. This means that Managers/Supervisors should ignore minor mistakes and turn larger mistakes into learning experiences.

Too Much Upward Delegation: At times, employees lack self-confidence in their abilities, are fearful of disappointing their Manager/Supervisor, and are reluctant to exercise newfound authority. This leads to upward delegation – where the employee refers the problem or decision to their Manager/Supervisor rather than tackle it themselves. This practice frustrates the purpose of delegation and it is the responsibility of the Manager/Supervisor to insist that the employee make routine job related decisions.

Lack of Recognition and Reward: Managers/Supervisors often fail to recognize the increased pressure that comes with assuming a delegated responsibility, and how much recognition and reward for accomplishing a delegated assignment means to an employee. Likewise, Managers/Supervisors frequently fail to acknowledge when their down line reports demonstrate effective delegation skills. Recognition and rewards can be built in by making both effective delegation and successful accomplishment of a delegated assignment as two of the criteria of performance evaluation.

Avoid these mistakes and you will be on your way to becoming an effective delegator and reaping the benefits and escaping the pitfalls that come with delegation.





Posted on May 11, 2021

Jim Baker

Jim is a Church Organizational Leadership and Management Coach, Consultant and Trainer. Throughout his career Jim has demonstrated a passion for showing Pastors and Ministers how to use organizational tools for church and personal growth and health.

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“For I may be absent in body, but I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see how well ordered you are and the strength of your faith in Christ.” Colossians 2:5