Delegate and Do What You Do Well
My wife has often said, “Jim, we have a Messiah. He is doing quite well and you don’t need to replace him!” I have found as a husband, father, and especially a leader that I often take on more than I can humanly accomplish. And since I’m talking about my flaws, I can also put too much effort and energy in work that I shouldn’t be doing. If you ever feel this way, you are in good company. Moses had the same problem in the story of Jethro, his father-in-law’s visit to him.
Jethro was a priest of Midian and the father of Moses’ wife. He came for a visit with Moses to see what God had done with the people of Israel (Exodus 18). That first day Jethro and Moses had dinner together and the following day, Moses was back at work serving as judge for the people “from morning till evening.” In other words, Moses was overcommitted. Jethro asked his son-in-law a good question, “Why do you alone sit as judge…from morning till evening?” He went on to confront Moses with these words, “What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.” Jethro then gave Moses a plan to delegate some of his work to others.
I love this quote, “Do what you were created to be, and you will set the world on fire” (Saint Catherine of Siena). The most effective leaders I know are people willing to delegate responsibilities to others to get more done in their own specific gifting. It works with teaching and equipping our children as well. Here is a simple formula that helps us not just delegate, but train others to take on our former responsibilities. It is called “The Four Phases of Ease.”
Phase One: I do it…you watch.
In other words, you still do the responsibility, but you have someone observing you to prepare them to learn how to do it.
Phase Two: I do it…you do it.
We do the work together. You will want to give insight and wisdom from your experience, but now you are a team.
Phase Three: You do it…I assist.
You have made the change and the other person is in charge, but you are still there to offer help when needed.
Phase Four: You do it.
They can do it and you are free to find something else that better uses your gifts and abilities.
Here are three questions to ask yourself about your workload and delegation:
- Do I feel overloaded most of the time with busyness?
- Is there something I’m doing right now that someone can do or at least learn to do?
- Do I put enough of my attention on doing things where I am most gifted?