Delegating is More Than Giving Orders

Sometimes the only way to make sure it gets done right is to do it yourself. You have probably said that or even still believe it. You don’t pass off tasks to others because you need it done right the first time. But without properly delegating tasks, you’ll never succeed in business or in life for that matter.

At the Chattanooga Community Kitchen, we employ people to do various jobs. Some are cooks, others maintenance technicians, some bookkeepers, and others still are case managers. With nearly 50 employees, we have a diversity of trades, training, and experience at work.

As the Chief Operations Officer, all of our programs and operations come together in my office. That means that I am ultimately responsible for the daily operations of our case management programs, day shelter functions, food service meals, property management, recycling, donations, thrift store, giveaway, and land-lording.

I’m not capable of running each of those departments and doing the work that is required of them. Beyond the fact that I can’t be in each department all the time doing the work, I couldn’t keep up with a 24/7 schedule that is required to do every service we offer.

Somewhere along the way, delegating turned into a bad word that described the work managers didn’t want to do. They delegated the dirty work while they sat in their office with their feet propped. That isn’t delegating; that is poor leadership; that is tyranny.

Delegating is something more than just giving orders or requesting others do your work.

Delegating is giving authority: When you delegate a task or responsibility to someone else, you are giving them the authority to do their job. For instance, I delegate food service to the Food Service Manager. She is responsible for hiring and scheduling cooks, dishwashers, and servers. She sets the menu for meals, tracks inventory, and orders needed items. Ultimately, my office is responsible for food services, but I delegate the work of that department to that manager.

Delegating is trusting: Our family shelter is open 24/7 so that the moment a family experiences homelessness, they are able to stay in a safe, welcoming place instead of in their car or on the streets. That means we have staff there all the time. By delegating the responsibility of the shelter to the director and staff, I am trusting them to be there. I don’t wake up at shift change in the middle of the night to make sure it happens. I trust them to do their work.

Delegating is team-building: Managers the world over struggle to grow their employees and create a sense of team and belonging. Delegating does exactly that. Delegating tasks to capable people gives them an opportunity to learn a new skill, take on new responsibilites, and feel like they are more a part of the organization than they were before.

Question: How do you define delegating? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

I am an author, speaker, and leader with a passion for developing people into practical leaders who put their principles into practice. I am the co-author of the acclaimed book Faith Acts with best-selling author Dillon Burroughs, the Chief Operations Officer at the Chattanooga Community Kitchen, and an independent leadership consultant to up and coming leaders and start up nonprofit organizations. My greatest joy, however, is serving Christ and his Church. I am the proud husband of Shay and father of two great boys. We live in Chattanooga, TN. #NoogaStrong

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, off-topic, or downright annoying.

Leave a Reply