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“I don’t actually trust you” are strong and offensive words. None of us like to hear someone has doubts about our abilities or even worse our character. We like to think of ourselves as people in whom others can place their confidence.

Leadership is a trust relationship which goes both ways. In a future post I will address how subordinates demonstrate their trust to an authority. But in this article I want to speak to leaders.

It is easy to make this critical mistake as leaders, a mistake that communicates, “I don’t actually trust you!” I doubt many (if any) of you reading this blog have ever really used those words either quietly or otherwise in a sentence but…you probably have broadcast them by your actions.

Leaders who refuse to delegate are essentially saying, “I don’t actually trust you.” No words were exchanged but you communicated none-the-less. Delegation is one of the ultimate tools in the leader’s toolbox for developing new leadership. It should be used skillfully and liberally with the end goal of reproducing strong leaders at every level.

Here are a few concepts to consider about delegation…both negative and positive:

  • It is not about giving away jobs you do not like.
  • It is not about authority without responsibility.
  • It is not about responsibility without authority.
  • It is not about comparison or uniformity.
  • It is not about thoughtless offloading of tasks.
  • It is about having an accountability/evaluation system.
  • It is about turning loose and allowing for mistakes.
  • It is about freedom of expression and personality within boundaries.
  • It is about assigning tasks to aid in a personalized growth process.
  • It is about developing others to multiply ministry/outcome.

Delegation is one of the strategic ways a leader says “I trust you.” It is a way to develop strong trusting relationships with those you identify as future leaders.

How have you seen delegation used to positively affect growth in future leaders?

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