One of the keys to growing an organization is delegation. There is nothing more stifling than having a boss make all the decisions. When the boss is out – whether it be a needed vacation or an unexpected long illness – all processes stop. This is really frustrating to the staff and cripples the organization. Delegation and empowering people to do their jobs eliminates the bottleneck and over the long-term grows the organization.
But it doesn’t mean you delegate everything. There are some key areas I believe you should never delegate. Here they are:
(1) Spiritual leadership. Whether you see yourself this way or not, the leader of the organization is the spiritual leader. It doesn’t mean you have to study hermeneutics and do a property exegesis of scripture for staff devotions, but it does mean you are the one who always looks to God for direction, prays for your staff and sets an example of a sold out life for God. Being a leader means living in a fishbowl to your staff. If someone comes to you with a need, it doesn’t mean you have the answer but you can pray for them. I remember years ago talking with a great Christian man who had a military background. He said his biggest challenge was he didn’t show emotion and didn’t know how to connect emotionally with a staff person going through a major medical crisis or loss. He said he learned that sometimes spiritual leadership isn’t saying the “right thing from God” but simply just being with that person. Even if your ministry has chaplains on staff – don’t delegate spiritual leadership.
(2) Major HR decisions. I messed up on this one several times. When you have a major air personality or senior leader that needs to be given a warning or dismissed, don’t delegate that meeting to HR. You need to be there in the meeting speaking into it. I have learned that HR often wants to help lighten leader’s loads by taking the stress of HR matters off the GM or CEO’s plate, which is very nice, but for the key people this is where you need to be present. I am not saying you shouldn’t talk with the attorney or HR beforehand because of the possible legal risk, but don’t skip that meeting. You need to be the one making the decision and you need to be in that meeting. Don’t delegate major HR decisions.
(3) The CEO is the Chief Fundraising Officer. I know as we grow, we hire development people, outside consultants and agencies and others to help with meeting our revenue goals, but this area is not someone else’s responsibility. It is yours. The major donors want to talk to the person who runs the organization not someone down the chain. Don’t think you’re not good at it so you are not going to do it. Instead, go in teams of two to visit donors. You love on the people and let the donor development person do the ask, but you need to be a part of those meetings. Years ago when I was General Manager, we learned that donors didn’t want to meet with the General Manager. In radio we know that is the top position of a radio station. To a donor it’s equivalent of the person who runs the local hamburger fast food franchise. The donors want to meet with the President, so we changed my title. No additional responsibilities. No personal holiday in February. It was just a title change to more effectively connect with major donors. After all, that’s what good titles do anyway. Don’t delegate Fundraising.
With over 40 years of broadcast leadership experience, Tim consulting CEO and leaders who want to grow their ministry. He can be reached at Tim@TimMcDermottconsulting.com