Gaining Trust Through Delegation
Posted on March 29, 2022 10:00 AM by Mark Snowden
A pastor recently told me he’s concerned about new leaders actually doing what they signed on to do. Delegating authority is a great sign that you are developing leaders. However, when you withdraw that authority too quickly it can lead to a lack of trust and interpersonal problems.
Ken Blanchard wrote the One Minute Manager who was described as a Situational Leader (HarperCollins 1985, 2013). Blanchard talked about four levels of development—moving from high control to letting go. As a leader dedicated to training, I found the key was in delegation. Each stage was a checkpoint to see if the new leader was fulfilling their commitment. As Jesus said, “He who has been faithful in little will be faithful in much” (Luke 16:10).
The problem comes when leaders quickly dump the whole responsibility in a newbie’s lap. The worker invests time, but often runs into problems. Then the leader comes swooping in. They may not like what they’ve seen and heard. They snap and withdraw some or all of their delegated authority. Resentment is a terrible outcome.
Many pastors are so busy they want others to take on more and more responsibility. However, each stage requires accountability and oversight. If they withdraw and correct after fully delegating a task, responsibility, or role, then Blanchard called it a “Zap.” Ouch.
Blanchard taught that leaders are best developed through directing, supporting, coaching, and then delegating. Pastors are wise to follow Jesus’ example of training Simon Peter until one day Peter could lead on his own without Jesus’ personal presence. Pastors must learn to take each task seriously in their church and let go too fast at their own peril. Through accountability, pastors begin to see authority transferred carefully with full respect of the leader they develop to the glory of God.
--Mark Snowden serves as director of the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association. He has a masters in Communications Managment from Virginia Commonwealth University