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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 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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.

 

 

Maybe You Are The Problem With Your Team (Learn To Stay Out of the Way)

The topic of leadership has been on my mind a lot lately.  Specifically as it relates to the workplace.  The summer staff is about to move into camp for summer 2014.  The year round staff is doing an amazing job getting everything ready.  And I am realizing just how much I need to stay out of the way.  As a leader, how often do you think about the fact you could be in the way of your team?

 

What's wrong with your team might be you. Confessions of a leader

 

It’s a strange idea to think about in leadership.

 

The imagery of leadership being the person “out front” of the team leading the charge is appropriate.  As a leader, we should be “out front”.  But, this means you need to keep moving forward.  If you stop moving forward or start moving sideways into areas that don’t matter; your team will have to also stop, run you over or follow you off track.  And, getting the team AND yourself back on track is a lot harder than just yourself.

 

What should a leader do?

 

Ask yourself (and your team) am I in the way?  If the answer is ever yes (or if your team hesitates) GET MOVING!!!

 

Here are a couple ideas to keep you moving forward in your leadership:

 

  1. Review your vision and mission for the organization everyday.  Seriously, everyday.  You need to keep on track.  Leadership’s key function is keeping the vision and mission front and center.
  2. Plan a new way to cast the vision to your team every 14 days.  This will keep you thinking about the vision and keep it in front of your team as well.
  3. Read.  Read books, trade journals, blogs (especially this one), READ!!!  Find relevant stuff to read about your industry, about leadership, about your strengths.  Not just stuff you agree with, but stuff that also makes you defend your believes…how knows…you might find yourself with a new opinion on an old problem.
  4. Listen.  Listen to your team (in fact, you should be asking each of your direct reports every single week how they are doing, what they are doing and what would help them do it better and/or faster.  Then, if you are any good at leadership, you’ll followup and actually provide them the help when possible)  Listen to podcast about your industry or leadership.  Listen to the news if your industry is trending there.  Listen to outside advisors.  Listen to your customers, owners, beneficiaries, board, etc.  Listen to your gut.  Listen for God to guide you.
  5. Mastermind.  Being in a mastermind group has had the single greatest impact on me over anything I’ve done yet.

 

What do you know?

 

What’s your favorite blog or podcast on leadership?  What would you add to this of five above? (let me know and I might add it) Would you listen to a 5 minute daily blog focused solely on leadership?  Email me or comment on this post.

How To Approach People (This Works Every Time)

It’s an honor to share a guest post today from a great guy; Brett Faris starter of FeedLeaders.com.  Before discovering his site, I thought I was losing my passion or was just totally stressed out.  Turns out, my passion was simply being overpowered by burnout.  I didn’t know the difference between stress and burnout; now I do.  Regardless of where you lead; you can benefit like I have from Brett’s content.  After reading and commenting on this post here; sign up over at FeedLeaders for encouragement like none you’ve ever received.

 

How to approach people.

 

A Challenge Of Many Leaders:

 

If you are in ministry, you have to be comfortable meeting new people. Approaching new people is a major win in ministry because if you don’t meet new people how are you going to reach people?

If you are like me, approaching people doesn’t come easy. I’m a mix of introvert and extrovert. Part of me is shy and reserved while another part of me is friendly and outgoing. What about you?

What I have found is once I meet someone I have no problem engaging in conversation and getting to know someone. However the initial walk across the room to introduce myself doesn’t come easy.

So how do you approach people in a way that works every time giving you the best chance to make the walk across the room and connect with someone new?

Never approach someone out of obligation but solely out of opportunity.

 

Yet Another Life Lesson From Camp:

 

My greatest lessons in how to approach people I learned during my time at Camp Barnabas. Camp Barnabas is a camp for kids with special needs where I took groups of high school students to serve during summer mission trips.

The staff at Camp Barnabas were geniuses at how they gave people a chance to meet for the first time. At Camp Barnabas they pair up one student with one camper then ask the student to spend 23 hours a day for six days to help the camper have the greatest week of their life. Needless to say the first meeting is important!

So what does Camp Barnabas do that makes approaching people you haven’t met before an incredible experience?

At Camp Barnabas they make meeting people for the first time fun and meaningful.

Watch this clip of the volunteers waiting to meet their camper who are introduced one by one. In this clip we go from making noise to using “spirit fingers” because the camper who was being introduced next was deaf and autistic.

Next time you walk across the room to meet someone new here are three ideas to help shift your mindset to ensure it becomes a great experience.

Three Ideas:

 

FIRST: See approaching new people as an OPPORTUNITY instead of an OBLIGATION.

At Camp Barnabas meeting your camper was an opportunity for something great to happen in your life. They made meeting the campers such an exciting and memorable experience that we couldn’t wait to meet the campers for the first time.

As Church Leaders we have to carry the same mindset. On Sunday when new people walk through your doors never approach them out of obligation. Instead approach them out of opportunity. The moment you walk towards them out of obligation you ruin any chance for good to come from your encounter.

THEN: Understand everyone is UNIQUE and not the SAME.

Camp Barnabas understood that everyone is unique. They understood some kids were loud and ready to go while other kids needed quiet and time to adjust.

All people are unique and not the same. When you approach new people it is important to take this into consideration. Focus on body language. Be attentive to their social cues. Don’t focus on a script but enjoy the moment for what it brings.

You will do yourself and the people you meet for the first time a great service if you approach every new encounter as a new experience to enjoy.

FINALLY: Find ways to IMPACT them but also allow yourself to be IMPACTED by them.
At Camp Barnabas not only did we impact the campers but the campers impacted us. All of us went to Camp Barnabas believing that we were the ones who would be making the impact however in the end we found they were the ones who impacted us.

As Church Leaders we have to approach people with the hope to impact them. Encourage people. Pray for them if it is fitting. Introduce them to a key volunteer. Do something to add value to their life however small it may be. However don’t let it be a one-way street because God will use other people to impact you Brett.

This is the great exchange of all relationships that God will use you to impact other people while He will use other people to impact you.

One of the greatest things we can do as Church Leaders is welcome new people into our churches with effort and love. As you approach new people consider these three simple ideas that will help shift your mindset to make your first encounter fun and meaningful.

(This post first appeared on FeedLeaders.com and is being reposted here with permission)

Stay encouraged,
Brett

http://www.feedleaders.com

 

Sign up for his free book at FeedLeaders.com

Check Out Brett's Free eBook!

Check Out Brett’s Free eBook!

 

Question:

What has worked for you when meeting new people?  What are your thoughts on Brett’s guest post today?

 

 

 

Why and How To Lead With Grace

 

Leading can be messy.

Leading can be exhausting.

Leading can be the most rewarding thing you ever do.

There are so many opinions on what “THE KEY” to being a great leader is.

Frankly, there isn’t one. Leadership is the high school janitor’s giant ring of keys. Leadership is complex and multifaceted.

Image courtesy of graur codrin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of graur codrin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

With that image in mind. We now have this questions. “What is the key ring?”

What’s the thing that keeps all of the keys of successful leadership held together?

I believe the key ring of leadership is Grace.

Let’s define Grace. If you are speeding down the highway and get pulled over, here is what could happen.

  1. You get a ticket. This is because you are under the law and your ticket is justice, and what you deserve.
  2. You get a warning. This is forgiveness. The cop could have given you the ticket, but decides to be forgiving.
  3. The cop walks up to your window and gives you a jelly donut. You are getting something you don’t deserve for being in the wrong, this is Grace. (Just a side note to my fellow believers of Christ…consider this analogy for a moment in your relationship with God. Powerful to consider God gives us jelly donuts everyday.)

When’s the last time you extended Grace to someone you lead?
How are you going above and beyond the expectations of those you lead?

Don’t you want Grace extended to you? My marriage wouldn’t be what it is if my wife and I didn’t exchange Grace regularly. My relationship with my children…same thing. My team at work, ditto.

Now, before someone comments that, “but sometimes you don’t have a choice. As a leader a time will come when you have to fire someone.” True. But do it with Grace. Make sure you really know the whole story first. I’ve never fired anyone who was surprised. Everyone is gifted and capable at doing the right work, But if you judge a tree for it’s ability to have empathy and walk with an upset costumer towards a resolution, you’ll end up with the a big pile of wood chips and no oxygen.

THE IDEA:

Hand Out Jelly Donuts Every Day

TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS:

  • Look for new ways to develop the skills of your team.
  • React to screw ups by working with them to fix it.
  • Overreact to right decisions and under-react to mistakes.
  • Get out of your office every day and be present with your team.
  • When you think you have given enough, you have almost started giving enough.
  • Remember, what gets rewarded gets repeated.
  • Create a great environment by getting the wrong people off the team.
  • ?What other Tips and Suggestions Do You Have?

WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW:

  • Consider a situation you are facing. What will the jelly donut look like?

RELATED POST:

Question: What other tips do you have to lead with Grace? Where do you disagree with me in this analogy of Leadership? What do you believe the key ring is?  I’d appreciate your thoughts, please comment. 

 

 

Free New eWorkbook Available; Write Your Life

 

Today I announce the release of my eWorkbook; Write Your Life, A Four-Step-Plan To Influence A Better Tomorrow For Those You Lead and Love.

Write_Your_Life_V1_Cover

Like many people, I tried to write goals. But truthfully, I just never felt like I was getting what God wanted for me, I didn’t feel like I was getting his dream for me. I would read other’s goals and think, “man, I wish I had wrote that.” Or, “wow, I wish I could think of goals that clear and creative for my life.” I would pray and reflect, but never felt like I was getting my goals just right.

In the introduction of Write Your Life I share the story of how that all changed for me the night before my daughters first birthday.

What I’ve discovered since has helped me get clear on my goals. I’ve discovered that one of the greatest challenges I had in my goals was that they weren’t goals at all. I had a list of desires with a goal here and there. Now, I have clear goals for my marriage, my parenting and my workplace leadership. I’ve never felt so confident that my goals were God inspired.

I created Write Your Life as an eWorkbook It’s more about you experiencing and writing letters then me telling you about writing letters. My prayer is that you find this resource inspiring and you use it to write letters to the people you care about the most. And, that by writing these letters:

  • you leave for them a written account of your hopes and dreams,
  • create a legacy worth living towards, and
  • discover the goals you need to work towards to make your life everything God wants it to be.

This free 70 page PDF workbook has both information and worksheets designed to guide and help you.

Write Your Life is divided into five sections:

* A short introduction in section 1 tells the story of how I discovered the power in writing letters for future dates and events to the people I care for most.
* In section 2 I unpack the process and pitfalls to be mindful of.
* Sections 3 and 4 will guide you through the four steps of reflecting, planning, clarifying and writing process.
* Section 5 includes links and resources.

You will discover what’s really important for you to teach and what to model for those most important in your life.

Write Your Life is for:

* Married Couples,
* Singles,
* Parents,
* Those Hoping to be Parents,
* Grandparents,
* Those Hoping to be Grandparents, and
* Workplace Leaders

This eWorkbook is provided free to those who subscribe to my blog’s email list to receive updates when I publish new content. Subscribers also receive exclusive offers and content not available on the blog.

Have you ever wrote a letter to someone for the future? Received a letter from someone wrote to you long ago? Comment below.  

 

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