Delegation, the task of sharing responsibility and function, is the challenge every leader needs to master. In Christian circles in particular, the ‘servant leader’ concept is alive and well. My problem is not with the concept, it’s with the practice.
From time to time I see leaders who, in the name of servant leadership, delegate tasks and functions to others and treat them as servants. The problem is not in the delegation. It lies in the treatment of those who are faithfully serving.
Jesus’ example is our benchmark.
Every ‘servant’ is important
Whatever our role or position we ought to maintain the posture of a servant and treat others as equals. No one is less than me, no one has a less important role than me, no one is deserving of praise less than me. We are all equals but with differing responsibilities.
The leader who masters the task of delegation while maintaining the dignity and respect of those to whom the task is delegated, will never be short of assistance.
Teamwork is about every person doing ‘their’ thing. Teams work when delegation flows from the leader and everyone takes ownership. Be sure though if you do delegate there must be a moment of accountability where an assessment takes place and commendation and correction are meted out.
Honour is a voluntary act. When someone serves they deserve honour and respect no matter what task it is that they are fulfilling.
I’d like to think that every person in ministry would be honoured and respected. We are all servants and as such ought to be both commended and corrected as we fulfil the responsibilities delegated to us by our leaders.
As the church of Jesus Christ continues to move forward in the remaining months of 2015, I also like to think that it would be so good to have people describe our Apostolic movement (and others of course) as having a ‘culture of honour.’
‘Trust lies at the heart of a functioning, cohesive team. Without it, teamwork is all but impossible’ – wrote Patrick Lencioni.
In his book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team addresses this critical subject in a team context. It’s the first several points he makes and his insights are helpful if we are to grow effective teams.
I want to take it one step further though. Trust is a critical component in every relationship and transaction we experience, both external and internal. It’s vital in teamwork.
Discipline is about trust. Do I trust myself to keep my word when I have made a commitment to myself, let alone others?
There have been many times I have promised myself I would not eat the chocolate in the fridge, only to find that by the end of the day it’s completely gone. Then my wife Ruth will say something like this, ‘What happened to all the chocolate? You didn’t eat all of it, did you?’
My sheepish response? Someone broke into the house and tied me up, they grabbed the chocolate and ran out. I have only now just untied my hands! Well, it was either that, or I did eat the chocolate! Now if I can be honest, when it comes to chocolate in the fridge I can rarely trust myself and the greatest help to my self-control is for it simply not to be there.
We operate with different levels of trust. We have areas of strength and weakness. The chocolate isn’t that important but confidentiality is. When someone speaks to me they can trust me with what they say. When I make a commitment, people can trust me to keep it. When I make an appointment, people can trust me to be on time – in fact, I am usually early.
The sum of my character is based on another’s perception of my trustworthiness. What people think of me is based on their experience of me. Trust is a critical component in relationships. Give attention to it to ensure you lead well.
By the way, if I come to visit, please don’t give me chocolate. It’s not good for me and if I am left in a room with it, it may go missing!
Wayne Swift is National Leader, Apostolic Church Australia and pastors The Church@1330, Scoresby, Victoria. Links: Wayne.Swift@1330.com.au / Church: www.the-church.org.au
SCORE ONE FOR THE GREY HAIR CROWD
Ed Delph shares another thought-provoker…
A wealthy old lady decides to go on a photo safari in Africa, taking her faithful aged poodle named Cuddles along for company. One day the poodle starts chasing butterflies. Before long, Cuddles discovers that he is lost. Wandering about, he notices a leopard heading rapidly in his direction with the intention of having lunch. The old poodle thinks, ‘Oh, no! I’m in deep doo-doo now.’
New tricks in old dogs
Noticing some bones on the ground close by, he immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat. Just as the leopard is about to leap, the old poodle exclaims loudly, ‘Boy, that was one delicious leopard! I wonder if there are any more leopards around here?’
Hearing this, the young leopard halts his attack in mid-strike and a look of terror comes over him. He retreats and slinks away into the trees. ‘Whew,’ says the leopard, ‘that was close! That old poodle nearly had me!’
Meanwhile, a monkey who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the leopard. So, off he goes, but the old poodle sees him heading after the leopard with great speed and figures that something must be up. The monkey soon catches up with the leopard, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the leopard.
The young leopard is furious at being made a fool of. ‘Here, monkey, hop on my back and see what’s going to happen to that conniving canine.’
Now, the old poodle sees the leopard coming with the monkey on his back and thinks, ‘What am I going to do now?’ But instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers, pretending he hasn’t seen them yet. Just when they get close enough to hear, the old poodle says, ‘Where’s that monkey? I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another leopard!’
Don’t mess with old ones!
The writer of this story concludes, ‘Don’t mess with the old ones. Age and treachery will overcome youth and skill. Bull and brilliance only come with age and experience.’
You might be thinking, what does that story have to do with spiritual stuff? The Bible says laughter is good medicine! It’s right there in Proverbs 17:22. So, what I try to do in my weekly articles is to get readers laughing, whatever their calling in ministry is, whatever their age. When you laugh, your mouth is open. That’s when I put medicine of God’s word or wisdom in you…in a dose that helps, not hurts.
And me? Me too…this pastor/author needs to be kind of like that old poodle…quick on the paw!
Dr Ed Delph is president of Nationstrategy, an organisation with the strategy of envisioning and empowering today’s leaders in the church to be some of tomorrow’s leaders in the community. Links: email@example.com / http://www.nationstrategy.com
EVER HELP GOD OUT?
Dick Hardy, pastoral leadership consultant, asks the above …
I know you’re so spiritual you never have to deal with this temptation… but for me, I sometimes find myself trying to help God out in ministry.
I like things to be ordered and well-planned. Frequently our ministries come off just the way we planned. And that’s not bad.
But it’s the ‘I’ part that Scott Wilson, lead pastor of The Oaks Fellowship, talks about in this short video http://thehardygroup.org/ever-help-god-out/?inf_contact_key=f4e85cc37321b963005f3788b05525ef477b2ba7115bb9a52b056cf5dde68745
Does God really need our help with this stuff? Give it to God and see what happens!
Dick Hardy is president of The Hardy Group, an executive consulting firm for senior pastors and churches
Recommended – link: firstname.lastname@example.org
GLEANINGS FROM AROUND THE WEB …
+ 15 THINGS THAT MAKE CHURCH PEOPLE CRAZY MAD …Brian Orme’s hilarious article with matching photo clips hits the nail on the head.
Church Leaders Update (www.churchleaders.com)
+ FOUR THINGS I LEARNED ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS AND THE CHURCH FROM KAY WARREN … Esther Laurie believes that very single life matters. (http://www.churchleaders.com)
+ ENEMIES OF GRACE: HOW A FALSE CONCEPTION OF GOD AS AN ANGRY JUDGE CREATES PEOPLE WHO JUDGE THEMSELVES AND OTHERS
Jeff K Clarke shares on some misunderstandings … Jesus (Re)Centred (http://jeffkclarke.com)
+ 5 THINGS A WIFE NEEDS (But Doesn’t Know How to Ask For) … Knowing the top five needs of wives will help husbands better understand and interact with their wives, says writer Joy Allmond.
Crosswalk Daily Update (www.crosswalk.com)
+ 4 RED FLAGS TO SIGNAL IT IS TIME FOR A CHURCH TO FIRE ITS PASTOR, 6 WARNING SIGNS OF LEADERSHIP FAILURE, 9 WARNING SIGNS OF A PASTOR LOSING HIS WAY and more Red Flags Warnings from Ministry Resources (www.ministryresources.org)