When leaders and teachers wisely delegate responsibilities by drawing upon others’ abilities and resources, they will multiply their efforts, build relationships of trust, and provide opportunities for growth, leadership, and motivation.
Wise delegation of responsibilities is essential to effectively administer in the Church Educational System. Jethro warned Moses that he would “wear away” if he did not delegate responsibilities to “able men” (see Exodus 18:13–27). Long before his martyrdom, the Prophet Joseph was diligently preparing those who would continue to lead the Church after he was gone by delegating responsibilities to them.
Delegating responsibilities helps leaders multiply their efforts. Although delegation may initially require more of a leader’s time, in the long term it often saves time. Delegating also helps leaders draw upon the abilities and resources of others. It helps them recognize the worth of others. It helps build relationships of trust between the leader and the one receiving the assignment. Delegating responsibilities helps individuals have opportunities for growth through participation, develops them for future leadership, and helps motivate them in their assignments.
Giving and Receiving Assignments
Elder James E. Faust, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taught, “One of the first principles we must keep in mind is that the work of the Lord goes forward through assignments. Leaders receive and give assignments. This is an important part of the necessary principle of delegating” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1980, 50; or Ensign, Nov. 1980, 34).
When giving assignments, leaders must first prayerfully determine what to assign and whom the assignment should be delegated to. Leaders must also determine how to best delegate assignments and how to effectively follow up. Like gospel learning, wise delegation requires prayerful preparation and spiritual direction on the part of the giver and the receiver.
Within CES, leaders may delegate the following types of assignments:
Assisting priesthood leaders
Interviewing to gather information for placement decisions
Promoting enrollment and completion
Advising student leaders
Providing inservice training
Preparing records and reports
Maintaining physical facilities
Steps in Effectively Delegating Responsibilities
Effective delegation includes the following basic steps:
Clearly outline the assignment prior to giving it. To allow individuals liberty to grow and make their own decisions, leaders should generally delegate assignments for specific, attainable results. When preparing to outline an assignment, leaders might ask themselves “What results are expected?” or “What should happen?” or “What standard of performance is expected?” They should also ask themselves “When is the assignment to be completed?” and “What resources might help the individual in completing the assignment?”
Prayerfully determine who should be given the assignment. Assignments and opportunities should be given to each member of a faculty. Individuals may benefit in their professional growth through such assignments. Likewise, giving assignments to those with particular talents, experience, or ability can benefit the whole group.
Communicate with the person to explain the assignment and its purpose. When giving an assignment, the leader should ensure that the person understands the assignment, its purpose, the available resources that may help, and the time set for completion. The leader should then find out if there are any questions about the assignment and should ask the person whether he or she is willing to accept the assignment as explained. When possible, it is best to allow the person to help develop the specific plans to carry out the assignment. He or she should be encouraged to prayerfully determine how best to accomplish the desired results. Finally, those receiving assignments should be sure they clearly understand the delegated assignment, what is expected, and what time or other limits there are for completion. Individuals should continue to seek clarification from the leader until the assignment is understood.
Allow the person to complete the assignment. Individuals should be given the liberty to take their own initiative in completing the assignment. Leaders should be available and should provide assistance, advice, and encouragement as needed but not interference.
Periodically ask the person to report on the assignment. Leaders should periodically ask individuals to report on their labors in completing the assignment. The leader should be willing to accept the person’s best efforts. Genuine expressions of gratitude should be offered. The leader should give special attention to whatever good was achieved. He or she should help the person feel comfortable to ask questions. If necessary, a leader should help clarify expectations and redirect or renew efforts to complete the assignment.
Delegating responsibilities helps leaders multiply their efforts.
Wise delegation requires prayerful preparation and spiritual direction on the part of the giver and the receiver.
The leader should ensure that the person understands the assignment, its purpose, the available resources that may help, and the time set for completion.