The Art of Delegation
The Art of Delegation
Longfellow once wrote, “Art is long and time is fleeting…” This statement can be applied to many forms of art and should not be excluded from the arena of leadership. It is particularly helpful when we think of the art of delegation. Delegation is an art that requires much time and patience with oneself and others. Many men and women in the Bible have had to learn this vital lesson.
In Exodus 18, Moses faces a crisis in his leadership. He is taxed with judging the nation of Israel. As he did with Aaron and Hur in Exodus 17, Moses will need to depend upon another, his Father-in-Law Jethro to help him accomplish the work God gave him to lead his people. At the beginning of Exodus 18 Jethro, the priest of Midian, hears the story of how God delivered his people out of Egypt. Jethro, joined Moses to visit with his daughter and grandkids at the base of Mountain of God. When Jethro arrives, Moses confirms the story of deliverance from Egypt via the hand of God. Jethro is so excited that he “rejoiced for all the good that the Lord had done to Israel…” The men worship together with a sacrifice and glorify God together in this matter. While the older and wiser Jethro was visiting, he observed the younger Moses trying to judge all the people of Israel by himself from sun up to sundown. Jethro felt compelled to ask Moses, “Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening?” Moses responded by telling him that the people came to him for help to resolve their problems and to inquire of the Lord. In other words, they needed someone to judge them and help them understand the Law of God as it pertained to their given situations. Jethro is just blunt with Moses. He says, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone. ” The advice Jethro gave Moses was to delegate to qualified leaders that could help Moses carry out his God-given task.
I want to share with you some guidelines for delegation based on Jethro’s instructions. Next, I would like to share with you the impact of delegating well.
Some Guidelines for Delegation
1. Never delegate your primary God-given responsibilities in leadership. Moses still had a calling as the senior leader of the people of Israel. Vs. 19b-20 “You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, 20 and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do.”
2. Delegate to men and women of character. Select leaders who have solid character and a strong competence. Vs. 21a “Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe…”
3. Be organized and descriptive in your approach to delegating a task. Be clear in what you want from those you delegate responsibilities. Vs. 21b-22a “and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. 22 And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves.”
The Impact of Delegating
1. The tasks you bear will be easier because you are sharing the load. “Many hands make light work” is an appropriate application. However, those hands must be directed well. Vs. 22b “…So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you.”
2. The delegator will be able to serve and lead longer. Some leader’s burnout because they refuse to let others help them. Vs. 23a “If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure…”
3. Peace will come to the people you lead. Any leader is limited in their abilities and gifts. However, together, we can more effectively minister to the body of Christ. Vs. 23b “…and all this people also will go to their place in peace.”
Blessings in Christ,
Dr. Jamie McClanahan