Leadership starts with “know thyself.” It’s obvious when you see a great leader in action that they are comfortable in their own skin. They know who they are and what they do best. They don’t waste time and energy trying to do those things that are difficult or counterproductive. Instead they focus on developing the team they need to be able to reach their goals.
This sounds easy but in reality almost every leader I know struggles with this concept at some point. Maybe you have felt the pressure being the only one who can do the job even though you don’t like doing it. Or it’s possible that you have been frustrated with aspects of your job without really knowing why. So, how do we avoid putting yourself in these situations as a leader? Here are a couple of key ideas to think through:
#1 Know your strengths
The first step you must take down this path is to know what your strengths are. A surprising number of people in leadership positions have very little knowledge about their strengths. Our society has programmed us to focus on improving our weaknesses instead of developing our strengths. This leads to a dangerous position. What usually happens to leaders who do a good job is that they are quickly given more responsibility. This can be great if that new responsibility aligns with your strengths. It can be devastating, however, when those new responsibilities are not in sync with your giftedness. A leader in that position has very little chance of success. By knowing your strengths you can say “yes” to leadership responsibilities that will grow you and help you become a better leader.
There are some amazing resources available that will help you pin point your strengths. Marcus Buckingham has written several books on this subject, the best being Now Discover Your Strengths.
#2 Know how to help others discover their strengths
The best way to delegate is to empower. We can empower our followers by helping them discover the strengths and talents they have. This discovery process will help them find a role in your ministry or organization that will be fulfilling and rewarding for them. This is the best way to develop teammates who are with you for the long haul. It will also free you from doing things that don’t fit you while encouraging others to find places that do fit them. Here’s what this process might look like:
Start by making a list of all the staff and volunteers that you oversee. Think about each one for a couple of minutes. What jobs do they naturally gravitate toward? What is their personality like? Are they organized, relational, intellectual, creative, etc? What tasks seem to make them the most excited and energized? The answers to these questions will help you determine what strengths your volunteers possess. It’s also a good idea to talk this topic over with your team members. Help them to understand what strengths are and how to start to identify them in their own lives.
Once you have a good idea about your strengths and the strengths of your volunteers it’s time to start dividing up the responsibilities. This is the environment that will allow your team to work at its peak efficiency. Both you and your team will be more energized and fulfilled as everyone contributes from his or her area of strength. You will also know who you need to recruit to fill key roles that everyone on the team can do well. Knowing your strengths and the strengths of those around you will help you avoid the frustrations of failed delegation.
About the Author
Andy Lawrenson has been in student ministry for 26 years both as a volunteer and paid staff member. Andy and his wife, Misha, have been married for 28 years and have three children: a son in middle school and twin eight-year-olds, a boy and girl. Andy loves getting together with other youth pastors to talk about… Read More