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The Biggest Mistake Leaders Make In Delegation (Learn To Delegate Like A Pro)

I recently took my team to Leadercast 2014.  During our lunch break I was asking everyone on our team what their greatest takeaway from the morning was.  Our 20 year old program director, Meredith, floored me with her response.  I realized that I had learned the same lesson after years of struggling with delegation.  However, she picked up on it and put words to my greatest challenge with delegation in a few hours.  I learned a lot at Leadercast, but I didn’t expect this lesson on how to delegate tasks.

How to delegate to my team.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Back to my conversation with Meredith.


Me to Meredith; “What’s your greatest takeaway so far?

Meredith; “I’m good at delegating tasks.  I’m terrible at delegating decisions.

And there it was my friend.  I realized I had mastered task delegations years ago.  In fact, pretty quick into my leadership journey I had delegating tasks down.

  1. Identity the next action step required.
  2. Decide the best equipped person to handle the action step.
  3. Assign it to them.
  4. Record the assignment in whatever task management system I was using at the time.  (I’m now 100% on Nozbe and loving it thanks to Jackie Bledsoe Jr.).
  5. Followup with the person when the action step requires it depending on difficulty, due date, etc.

Pretty simple.


But, I never felt like I was getting ahead.


How about you?  Do you feel more or less free to dream about the vision of your organization and how to reach it as you delegate more and more?  I for one was always confused.  Why was I still so swamped when I had everything delegated out?


Enter Dave Ramsey book Entreleadership.


From Mr. Ramsey, I learned and use the 3 suggestions rule.  (Actually, I only require 2.)  The rule is this.  When you bring me a problem, come with 3 (or 2) suggestion on how to fix it.  After I’m presented the problem and the suggested solutions I decide on a course of action.  I make sure the person knows why or why I’m not using one of their suggestions.  Over time, I learn how my team thinks and they learn how to think like me when solving problems.  After a few rounds of this, I can eventually say; “You no longer need to bring problems like this to me.  I trust you to decide.”

Overall, this has been working great.  And Meredith helped me see what I was actually doing in this process.  I was delegating decisions.

When I would simply delegate task in the past without delegating the authority to make decisions….I was setting my team up to have to come back to me with questions.  However, once I started passing on the responsibility to make decisions I started noticing more time in my day to focus on the things that only I can do.

With Dave Ramesy’s approach I am teaching my team how to make decisions.  Thus, delegating decisions making when the team member is ready.  Now that Meredith has helped me connect the dots, I’m going to be able to be even more intentional.


What I Have To Stop Doing.


I also had another light bulb moment.  And, that lead to me apologizing to my team.  Recently I would reply like this when asked about something I didn’t need to be involved in.  “You decide, I don’t care.”

What I thought I was saying was this; “You can decide this.  I trust you.  I don’t need to care about this, because you have it covered.”

What I now realize I was covertly communicating.  “You decide.  I don’t care about small things like this.  It’s such a small decision, it’s beneath me.  You are only capable of handling this kind of small thing and I don’t care.  Only bother me with the big important stuff.”

Not what I thought, felt nor meant.  But the words we use matter.

Now, I will simply reply;  “Thanks for asking.  However, I trust you.  I’d like for you to decide.  I’ll support you whatever you decide.”  And, after saying this a few times, I’ll just cut it down to; “You can decide this.  I trust you.”

What About You?  Do you delegate decisions as well as you delegate tasks?


What Do You Know?


I would appreciate any insight you can share on delegation in the comments or by sending me an email.



Avoid The Biggest Mistake In Setting Goals

The boldness in declaring this The Biggest Mistake in goal setting, is from observations leading several hundred staff and facilitating tens of thousands of people in workshops, conferences, retreats and other personal development experiences in 16 years.

Like many people, I use to have terrible goals. In fact, they weren’t even goals at all.

I had a list of desires I was working towards accomplishing.


Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at

Even using S.M.A.R.T. goals. ((see this post on Top Achievement for great information on setting SMART goals), I didn’t have good goals.  And my forward momentum reflected this.

For example;

  • I had a desire to get married.
  • I have a desire to raise kids that have happy marriages.
  • I have a desire to increase enrollment at events at work.

I’m not saying these are bad things to want. I’m saying I can’t accomplish them as goals.

  • I couldn’t getting married until someone wanted to marry me.
  • I can’t choose my kids spouse, nor can I choose the behaviors and decisions my kids or their spouses will one day make.
  • I can’t make more people come to an event at camp.

My goals use to rely on other people for success.  Which in turn really made them desires.

Now, I have goals for my desires.

Mark Batterson shares in his book, Circle Maker, that we pray as if it depends on God and work as if it depends on us.

For me, my desires are up to God to fulfill and my goals are up to me to accomplish, with God’s help of course.

My desire to get married. Is what I prayed for.
My goal was to better myself to become the person I wanted to marry wanted to marry. This is the work I did. And now I’m married to my best friend and the most beautiful woman of God I know.

My desire for my children to have successful marriages. Is what I pray for.
My goal: When I say, “I love you” to my wife, it’s only after I treat her in a way that shows her I love her; all in front of my kids, everyday. I remind myself daily; more is caught than is taught. This is the work I do.

My desire for increased enrollment at work is what I pray for.
My goal: Increase guest satisfaction at every encounter  by studying evaluations monthly looking for innovative solutions to improve quality of service, experience, communication, facilities and deliverables related to Mission and Core Values.  This is the work I do.


We Work Towards Goals, We Pray For Desires


  • If you haven’t, write down your goals.
  • Look at your written goals. Do they rely on someone else to accomplish them? If so, re-title your list Desires.
  • Pray hard for your desires, work hard for your goals.
  • Read the Circle Maker by Mark Batterson (affiliate link).
  • Review your Desires and Goals everyday.
  • Are you married? If so, do you and your wife share any desires for your marriage or, if you have any, your children? Pray together and work together. Couples who pray together stay together.
  • ?What other Tips and Suggestions Do You Have? Comment Below


  • If you don’t have time to work on this, schedule time on your calendar right now.
  • Write down 1 desire and then write 2 goals for that desire.


Thanks For Reading

Purpose Must Be Priority

Today’s post is a guest article by Author Jeremy Kingsley. I’m honored to share with you his article, recommend his book and provide a link at the end of the article so you can get one of my new favorite leadership books. You’ll see why this book has a permanent place on my Leadership Resource shelf.


Update March 28th 2013.


Since Jeremy guest posted for me, he has appeared a few times on Fox Business and on Fox and Friends.  It was pretty cool to see a guy who wrote on my blog on TV.  Here are links to his appearances.  I’ve provided links at the end of this post where you can order his book.





Jeremy’s Post…..

As the leader of your team, you must clearly understand and be able to pass on the purpose of your organization and your team’s role within that organization. If you don’t know the purpose of your efforts, you certainly won’t be able to inspire your team to success.

Communicating purpose will take more than requiring your team to memorize the company mission statement, however. It must become part of the culture of what everyone in your organization thinks about, says, and does each day. It will influence decisions made at the top and choices made by the “lowliest” employee.

Keep your own sense of purpose honed and sharp. You are the leader. Keep that big picture in mind and know exactly where you are and where you are going. Communicate your enthusiasm and dedication. Carry everyone else along with you. It will take energy and effort, but no one said that being a leader was easy.

Grow together. At times, it may seem that everyone has a different purpose, and that paths are diverging. Make sure that everyone sees the way back to the common goal, and that the impact their work will have on it is clear to them. It is as if each team member must make a brick, ensuring that it is strong and free from flaws, and then firmly set it in place, among others, so that the next course can rest safely upon it.

Friday is a great time to bring your team together, to review the week, discuss the one to come, and end the working day with a sense of triumph, feeling united, energized, and eager for what lies ahead.

I’m a runner, I know how my legs ache halfway through a race, and at work my head often hurts at some point during a week. It is purpose that carries tired limbs and overburdened minds on until a second wind comes and that tape is in view. Purpose fathers that final burst of energy that carries your team over the line, with the broken tape fluttering at their feet. Purpose paves the way to victory. “Good leaders,” it’s been said, “create an organization with a purpose that rises above the bottom line; great leaders go a step further, finding ways to leverage the passion of each employee in order to create incentives that transcend financial rewards.”

What does this statement mean? I think it’s saying that to be an exceptional leader, you must discover ways to link the passions of each individual on your team with the purposes of your organization. You may have to find ways to do this that go beyond traditional methods. As you get to know your team, you’ll discover more about their individual desires and goals and how they define their purpose in life. It may be based on their family values, faith, or recent experiences. Pay attention to these clues! The more you can find common ground between your organization’s goals and purposes and the individual goals and purposes of each member of your team, the more effective and happy they will be on the job.

You won’t regret making purpose a priority.


About the Author

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Jeremy Kingsley is a professional speaker, author, and the President of OneLife Leadership. Since 1995 he has spoken to over 500,000 people at live events around the world. He has given over 2000 keynote speeches and his messages have reached millions through radio, television, and the internet. He has a new book titled Inspired People Produce Results, published by McGraw-Hill. Order now and learn more at




Pre-Order  Order The Book Here

Help spread the word about this must have leadership resource. Tweet This: “In order to impart inspiration, we must possess it.” #InspiredPeople by @Jeremy_Kingsley Pre-order a copy today!


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A Simple Lifehack to Be More Present During Family Time


I’m writing this post on my iPhone. Why? I guess because it’s about my phone.

I was struggling with a self control issue….nothing new for me.

I struggle to keep my hands, eyes and thoughts off my social media and blog stats.

I love engaging with my online community.

Plus, we are trying to expand our online community. My wife, and I have a big project we are putting together. It will help parents have more fun in their parenting, make family fun easier and equip parents with tools to build their children’s character. (I can’t wait to tell you more about it in the next couple of months)

With all that going on, a full time career I’m dedicated to in Christian camping and conferencing….I need to be completely focused during our family time. I also have a goal to be “unplugged” once a week when I practice the spiritual discipline of a Sabbath.

I had been utterly failing at both of these goals, until recently.

What has been helping…

  1.  Using Do Not Disturb function on iPhone and iPad to turn off notifications from Twitter and my blog Comments.
  2. I created a folder I called iFamily & iSabbath. I dragged the apps into that folder that I needed to remind myself not to look at during certain times. I was surprised the first several days how many times I grabbed my phone out of habit to check stats, comments, etc.
  3. I don’t open this folder during predetermined times.
  4. I tell my wife when these times are.

If you don’t struggle with self-control.  This will sound silly to you.  But for me, it’s a lifehack I need.

How I Keep My Email Inbox Empty


I’ve been asked numerous times how I manage my email.

It’s a compilation of ideas and tips from several sources.  You might read one of these ideas and say, “Hey, that’s Michael Hyatt’s idea” or “the GTD guy says that.”  I’m not claiming credit for any of the individual ideas.

I hope it’s helpful.

My basic set-up.

I have multiple “non” gmail accounts.  I never check them.  Gmail does it for me.

My work emails are provided through 1and1.

This blogs email is provided through Bluehost.

I have two Gmail accounts.

The first Gmail is a private email that I only use to have my 1and1 work mail account automatically checked via POP3.  I never give this Gmail address out, I only give my branded eric @ campaldersgate dot org email address out for work.

The other Gmail is my personal email.

Each of my Gmail accounts have 1 label (or folder) that I created.  It’s called Needs Processed.

Screen Shot 2013 01 31 at 6 53 34 AM


Here’s how I did that….

In Gmail,

Go to Settings

You can use gmail keyboard shortcuts to move around menus


Click on Filters,

How To Get The Most our of Gmail


Click on Create New Filter

In Gmail InBox Filters


Under “To” put your email address. 

 Screen Shot 2013 01 31 at 6 57 43 AM


After you enter your email address, click on Create filter with this search

Screen Shot 2013 01 31 at 7 15 25 AM


Check the option: Apply the label.

Then, select the name of your label in the drop down box.

Click on Create Filter.  I would not have the filter automatically applied to all conversation that match this filter.

Screen Shot 2013 01 31 at 7 17 52 AM


Repeat for all your email address’s that arrive to this gmail account.

Now, the beautiful thing is, your inbox is always empty..BUT WAIT…this isn’t the end.

The benefit to setting up your Gmail to operate like this is you create a distraction free email area.  When I need to send an email, I open Gmail to an empty inbox.  I can hit c and compose a new email.  If I want to check if a reply has arrived, or for an email I’m waiting for.  I search for it.  No distractions from email while working on tasks.


Using keyboard shortcuts, I process the Needs Processed label twice per day.  If you don’t use keyboard shortcuts, that’s okay.  But, turning them on and using them saves a lot of time.  I use the same shortcuts in Reader and my Google Calendar.

On the Gmail main screen.  Click on the label you created, should be under your inbox, for me it’s Needs Processed.

Normally, there are several emails I don’t need to open at that moment nor will they require action from me at anytime.  For example, forms submitted on our website to request information on renting the camp.  I don’t need to reply to any of these normally because my Director of Guest Services does.  HOWEVER, if they’re out for the day…I can provide a reply to someone inquiring about renting facilities quickly.  It’s just good customer service.

For these emails that normally don’t require my attention, but that still need to come to me.  I hit j to move to the first message in the list I don’t need to open, hit x to highlight it, then I continue using j to move down and k to move up to messages that I don’t need to open or deal with and highlighting or un-highlighting using x.  Once I have highlighted these emails, I hit y.  This archives them in All Mail, forever.  Now, a search can find them anytime I need them.

If I have mail that I will never need to open ever.  I highlight them and hit Shift 3 to move the item to the trash.

Within seconds I’ve cleaned out several of my emails.

Now, I start at the top of the list of emails.  I use j or k to move to that email.  Hit x to highlight and hit return to open.

If I can reply in less then 2 minutes or take other action to address the email in less then 2 minutes, I do.

If I can’t take immediate action.  I do one of two things.

If I can/should deal with it that day, I write it on my task list.

If I can deal with it another day, I calendar it. Under More (just above the email) I select; Create Event.  You will need a google calendar for this.  I schedule the email as a meeting on my calendar.  I might schedule it for tomorrow or next week.  Just depends on when I need to get to it.  After I deal with it, I archive the email to All Mail.  Again, don’t worry…a quick search and you will find it.  But, on the event on my calendar, is the text of the email for access there.

I do this with every email, in order, no exceptions.  Don’t skip an email and leave it in Needs Processed.

After less then 10 minutes every email is processed.  I have an empty inbox and Needs Processed label.  Nothing is getting missed or following through the cracks.  And, I’m not wasting time re-reading the same subject lines over and over.

Well, I hope this helps.

I’m always looking to improve my system.  If you have alterations, please let me know.

I’d love to hear what your think down in the comments.

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