Archive for the ·


· Category...

Are you delegating responsibilities or jobs?


It’s easy to delegate jobs: a simple matter of discernment as to who has the best skillset for the task at hand, and sometimes a bit of chasing up. It’s harder to delegate responsibilities – to give others real ownership of what they are asked to do.

Picture of a cane and vine

Photo: VogliadiTerra, reused under CC license

When I’m delegating responsibilities:

  • there’s a time for training
  • there’s a time for feedback
  • but then, crucially, there’s a time for being happy with their work, and for being happy that it is their work.

That’s a part I can struggle with. Only a few days ago, I went back over someone else’s work to make tiny improvements; but if I keep on doing this, all I will have given them is a job to do – not a responsibility. And without delegating responsibilities, I’m not encouraging leaders to grow naturally from within my group: I’m stifling that growth.

Of course, there’s always excuses for stepping in: driving the standards up, “training”, achieving consistency over a wider project, etc. And if the mistakes are enormous, it’d be stupid not to. But sometimes, those are just excuses.

How do you make sure that you delegate responsibilities as well as jobs?

10 reasons why leading people is like making a pot of tea


Image credit: Phoenix Han, reused under CC license

1. Different blends suit different people. Do not assume what worked with someone will also work with someone else!

2. When you’re making a teapot, you make it both for others and for yourself. In the same way, your leadership style needs to be suitable both to your personality and to the personality of those you follow.

3. Different blends suit different times of the day and different moods. Even when you know people’s tastes, you won’t start off their day with a Lapsang Souchong*. In the same way, be sensitive of people’s personal struggles, joys and adapt your message so that your love and care shine through.

4. A dash of milk does make a cuppa better – but ultimately, you’re not in control of how your guests will take your tea. In the same way, people may take your leadership in the way you intended, or change it (for better or for worse). Respect that!

5. Rinsing the pot with hot water (and warming it at the same time) makes the tea a lot better. Leadership is not something you do on a whim. It is much better when it’s not improvised.

6. Making and drinking tea is a pretext to sharing a good time with others. In the same way, leading people is not an end in itself, but only worth it inasmuch as it challenges and changes people you ultimately care for.

7. Patience is key, or else you’ll find your leadership very weak. Let your ideas brew enough for people to be changed, and challenged by your leadership. But don’t let them brew for so long your message becomes bitter!

8. Once it’s ready, don’t put off giving it to your guests. Tea is best hot. People won’t drink cold tea. In the same way, people won’t follow a message that’s no longer relevant to them – regardless of how carefully and lovingly it’s been prepared!

9. Some people will prefer coffee. You’ll always find heretics who won’t welcome your leadership.

10. Letting tea go to waste is sacrilege. So just don’t. In the same way, don’t let your leadership skills go to waste. Respond to God’s calling.

*why you would ever make Lapsang Souchong is beyond my understanding, but ah well…

The time is now

1 comment

Image credit: Anthony Dodd, reused under CC license

Don’t just long for the coming of the Kingdom.
Of course, this is something to long for, but it is secure. Focusing on it stops you from seeing what you are called to do here and now.

Don’t just model your actions on the early church.
Again, looking at the history of the early church is greatly inspiring, as it shows people of great courage and determination; on top of which it was led by people who knew Jesus first-hand. But it also happened in very specific circumstances, with different tools available to leaders, and in a time of persecution. The circumstances today are different: we have social media, certain values have made their ways into our culture, and it is good to keep that in mind.

Don’t put off your actions, don’t root them only in aims and objectives.
This doesn’t mean that you should do everything on a whim, or that planning is inherently bad. It means that, in chasing objectives only, you risk losing your identity. Don’t justify your behaviour first by what might come of it in the future: be uncompromising about what you do now. Don’t let busyness be an excuse.

The time is now.
Look at what is happening around you now, and at how it is happening first, to see what you can do now.

Lesson from The Shawshank Redemption

1 comment

The Shawshank Redemption is one of the greatest films made.


Image: Donald Tetto, reused under CC license

What makes it special is that we’re not looking at the story of Dufresne. That story, itself, is incidental – what matters is the way the lives of those around him are affected, culminating with Red’s change of attitude towards the parole board.

Here’s what Dufresne is:

1. Relentless and determined, even when everything goes against him
2. Caring and selfless 
3. Constant – no matter what hardships come his way, he’s not getting angry or changing identities.

That’s what allows him to effect such a profound change in those he meets. And it’s those changes that are important.

The question is:

Whose life are you changing? And how?

You can trespass on my turf

no comments

Image credit: Alex J White, reused under CC license

There is no such thing as a decision by committee. As the workload grows, however, there will be more than one person involved in running your organisation. Job descriptions will be drafted, and “territories” created. As they grow, people sometimes restrict themselves to their territories, for fear of not doing what they ought; or for fear of hurting the feelings of others; or simply, out of plain laziness.

If you are working in a team,

  • firstly, do the task you were assigned. If nobody does, then some jobs just won’t get done!
  • take initiative.
  • if you feel it is someone else’s role, let them know about your initiative. If it is something that can’t be cancelled, give them some time to veto it.
  • if it is an unassigned job, get started. Try and involve as many people from your team in this, but do not wait too long because you can’t arrange a meeting.
  • be humble. Just because you can go over someone else’s territory, it doesn’t give you authority over it. You can lead people there, but will always have to submit to the person who was in charge of it.
  • be loving. Do overstep your boundaries to lighten your friends’ loads. Let that be your motivation – not a desire to take their place permanently. Do not try to outshine them.
  • be welcoming. Allow others to come onto your turf too. Invite them, even, when you feel you need to.

Are you comfortable going over other people’s turfs?

What do you do to make sure the people you lead feel comfortable stepping on other people’s turfs?