Stephen Covey emphasizes two kinds of delegation. The first is gofer delegation which emphasizes the methods. The Gofer’s Creed is “Just tell me what you want me to do and I will do it.” The second and better kind of delegation is stewardship delegation which emphasizes the results. Stewardship delegation is the delegation of responsibilities or ministries that the person has been equipped to accomplish; not menial errands. Covey’s stewardship delegation is closer to Maxwell’s empowerment.
Maxwell, however, sees a difference between delegation and empowerment. An example of delegation would have been Paul on the first missionary journey immediately after leading Timothy to Christ, Paul would have sent Timothy to a church like Ephesus. Empowerment is what Paul actually did. Paul instructed first Timothy, modeled what he wanted Timothy to be and do (Acts 16), gave Timothy some experience and accountability (Acts 18:5). Then Paul sent Timothy, having empowered him, to his greatest assignment with the authority to be the pastor (1 Tim. 1:1-3).
Insecure leaders do not empower. Secure leaders surround themselves with the best and the brightest people and are not jealous or threatened. Maxwell writes about the Henry Fords (Senior and the Second) who did not empower their leaders but underminded them to the detriment of The Ford Motor Company. Maxwell writes, “Any time an executive gained power and influence, Henry Ford II would undercut the person’s authority by either moving him into a position with less clout, supporting the executive’s subordinates, or publicly humiliating him. This continued all the days Henry II was at Ford.” The Fords did not practice the leadership law of empowerment which says that only secure leaders give power to others.
Another reason leaders do not empower and give responsibility and authority to others is the co-dependency of the leader on his followers. The leader should be a launching pad for those he is training. But if the leader is co-dependent, the leader is a leaning post. When you need people you cannot lead them. If you need people’s approval you will never make the tough decisions.
Maxwell teaches us how to empower others.
First, you must trust your people with responsibility.
If you want them to grow you must let them go. Was Jesus threatened when He knew His disciples would accomplish more that He would as far as man hours and ministries opportunities as He predicted in John 14:12? No! That is exactly why Jesus poured three years of His life into them. This also means that we must let those we are empowering make mistakes and then learn those valuable lessons that only mistakes teach.
Also, you must train them for competency.
When we and our leaders stop growing so will our ministries. This means we must budget money for specific training in their areas of ministry. This money can be spent on books, periodicals, seminars, or master level courses. This line item in the budget sends a message to the entire church about how serious this church takes leadership training.
Next, you must unleash them with authority.
How did Jesus train? He first instructed His disciples (Matthew 10:1-42). He showed them how ministry is done (Matthew 11:1). Jesus then sent His disciple out for field experience (Luke 10:1). He also gave them authority that was equal to the responsibility (Luke 10:9). Finally, Jesus held them accountable (Luke 10:17).
You must monitor your people through accountability.
Jesus held His disciples accountable for their ministries (Luke 10:17). Accountability is not following our people around like a highway patrolman tailing us. Accountability is planned follow-up where they know they will report on the progress of the project or the ministry.
Lastly, you must care about them and believe in them for maximum potential.
The leader cares enough for his people that he believes in them and wants them to succeed. How do you know if you are an empowering leader? The moment you experience more joy in the success of others than in your own success.