I’m a fan of delegation. In fact, I consider myself somewhat of a professional delegator, if there is such a thing. I certainly love to delegate. I think it makes the team stronger.
As a leader, have you ever given away a project and wished you could take it back?
It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it can be one of the more difficult and awkward parts of leadership.
Maybe it was the wrong fit for the person. Perhaps the person was overloaded with other responsibilities. You may have misjudged their potential, so you gave them the delegation. Now you wish you hadn’t.
What do you do?
How do you take back a delegated project without causing hurt feelings, injuring a valued team member, or causing disruption in the organization? Many times the person has assumed a certain sense of ownership and pride in the assignment, even if they haven’t done a good job with it. Taking the project away from them may feel like personal rejection.
What do you do? How do you do it?
Here are 5 ways to take back a delegated project:
Set up the right to remove on the front end
The process should really be clear from the beginning. The culture of a healthy organization has everyone operating as a team. It’s easier to do the right thing on a healthy team – even reassign an project. You may not be able to do it this time, but certainly work towards establishing that kind of environment for the future.
In earlier posts, I’ve written about the analogies I use to help people understand the new varieties of transitional (or interim) pastoral ministry. I’ve explained that proactive interim specialists, variously called “strategic interim pastors,” “restoration pastors,” “redevelopment transitional pastors” or simply “interventionists,” are like:
- “This Old House” crew members
- Dog or horse whisperers
- Special forces units
- The unusual caregiver, Nanny McPhee
- The surgeon
- The Harbor pilot
- The emergency room physician
The following are three more analogies which you might find helpful:
A middle relief pitcher
When I was a kid (and a Minnesota Twins fan), I only knew about two kinds of pitchers: starting pitchers and relief pitchers. As in so many fields, there are more specialists than there used to be. The redevelopment transitional pastor isn’t a starter (church planter) or a closer (nobody wants to do this!) but something like a middle reliever who “gives it all he’s got” for a couple of crucial innings in the middle of the game and sometimes turns the game around.
“The Miracle Worker”
I’m not saying that the interim pastor is a miracle worker; I’m talking about the extraordinary Anne Sullivan who moved in with the dysfunctional Keller family and took over the care of the very troubled and troublesome blind and deaf family member, Helen. After transforming both Helen and the functioning of the family, Anne packed up and went her way.
Pour some coffee, and travel with me. I invite you into a completely different world than your own for the next few minutes. A world I have recently brushed by but am still trying to wrap my heart around and asking Jesus to help me see it like He sees it.
Imagine you are living in a beautiful house on the outskirts of the city, in the neighborhood where you’ve always wanted to live. You got married last year after a long season of singleness, and you love getting to know your husband and settling into married life. You enjoy your job as a graphic artist, and your husband provides steady income with his glass artistry job. Your tight-knit family lives close by, and you never miss a dinner gathering or birthday celebration. The normal stress and pressures of life are present, but things have never felt more secure.
And then, in a matter of months, the dream starts slipping away. War and terrorism have come to your neighborhood. It no longer feels safe to be outside, and you don’t know whom you can trust. The bombs come closer, and the dream turns into a nightmare.
Then the phone rings, and the voice on the other end tells you your sister has been killed in an explosion and her two elementary-aged children will need a place to live. In the weeks that follow, your two brothers and uncle are kidnapped, and no one knows where they are. You hope against hope, but the silence is deafening.
Notice I did not say IF you lose confidence in yourself.
I said WHEN you lose confidence in yourself.
It’s going to happen. You WILL lose confidence in yourself. Multiple times over the years in fact. It is not a matter of IF but WHEN.
The question is why?
In my experience, Senior Pastors lose confidence in themselves when they are unable to lead their congregations to grow numerically, increase their offerings, and generate conversions.
Changing Attendance is Harder Than You Think
Offerings and conversions are unquestionably the easiest things to change in the life of a church.
You can change your financial situation in a matter of months. If you’re willing to follow the admittedly hard to hear advice I have in my article “What To Do When Facing A Massive Budget Shortfall” and combine that advice with THIS article and THIS one, you’ll change your financial situation in 90 days. I promise.
Conversions? That can change in 90 days as well. If you’re willing to do THIS and THIS and THIS AND THIS, things will change almost immediately.
But changing a church’s attendance is about as easy to fix as that underperforming restaurant in your area that’s been in decline for years