Most of us have to be in many roles at once; a husband or wife, father or mother, leader/team member at church, at work, and at social clubs etc, and all these can be overwhelming at times, especially when and if we want to do everything on our own. Most of us are highly stressed due to all these demands on us and we seldom have enough energy at the end of the day for things we really want to do, things that really make us happy, or add meaning to our lives.
This reminds me of the story of Moses who was overwhelmed with all the work he had to do and one smart man of God who gave him advice. His advice was on the liberating power of delegation. His name was Jethro and all of us could take something out of his advice.
Here are six facts about over-working, especially as a leader;
1. Understand what you are great at than anyone else around you;
“…. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him.”
Exodus 18:19 NIV
This is the power of one thing, the ability to focus on one task and one skill, so you get to add more value than you would had you been all over the place trying to do everything by yourself. I am sure Moses was not called to be a worship leader, an usher and intercessor at the same time, let alone a soccer player. He was to be ‘people’s representative before God’ and that is clear and specific enough!
Most businesses and organizations we work for/in fail because we all want to do everything by ourselves. Absolutely no one but God can be a master of all and everything. So, delegate those tasks you are not as good at and focus on the one thing, or few things, you are great at.
2. Avoid duplication of work
“Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you.”
Exodus 18:22 NIV
Separation of duties, or separation of accountabilities, is very important. Simple cases to be decided by those he delegated authority to, difficult cases are Moses to sort out!
Simple tasks we work on as ESWM working workers, difficult cases we take to Apostles to sort out. We cannot be seen ‘bothering’ Apostles with small things we can sort out ourselves, as those they delegated work to, right?
One of the best ways to waste resources and time is where everyone wants to do everything by themselves, or where no one is willing and available to take up responsibility and have tasks delegated to them. Imagine a farmer who wanted to farm every fruit and vegetable, every cattle and livestock, even poultry, and process them by himself. This won’t be sustainable, would it? Let us help carry the burden with our leaders and help them focus on just few and manageable things, like being ‘our representatives before God’!
3. Working non-stop is not sustainable:
No man is made to work all the time.
“Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.”
Exodus 18:17-18 NIV
If and when we work all the time, something will eventually give; your health, your sanity your family etc, partly due to neglect of one in favor of the other.
So, what are we to do?;
4. Select Qualified leaders
“But select CAPABLE men from all the people—men who FEAR GOD, TRUSTWORTHY men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.”
Exodus 18:21 NIV
Character is vitally important when choosing leaders, including employees and co-workers, and people to delegate to, and it is much more important than skill. Skill can be taught and learnt, but it is more difficult to change character. Isn’t interesting that qualification needed for a leader has nothing to do with impeccable resume, formal qualifications and degrees? God’s ways are better than our ways.
5. Give these leaders responsibilities and authority
– responsibility and authority in business or corporate setting are called clear mandate.
– mandate and layers/hierarchy of leadership are meant to facilitate decision making, not impede it, otherwise we don’t have good delegated leaders in place. See Exodus 18:22.
6. Endurance factor
– we are want enduring leaders, who serve well during their term. However, leaders can only endure if and when they are not overburdened with work, and are able to delegate appropriately.
– we all can play a role in every organization we are in, and as leaders ourselves, to make sure we support leaders and lessen the burden, more so in a church setting.
“If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.””
Exodus 18:23 NIV
We all want to stand the strain, and there is so much strain we have to endure in our daily lives. We could all do with a friend and co-worker who is concerned about lessening the strain on us! In church it is all about people we serve and God. Satisfied people make sure those they serve are satisfied. This is also a principle we all who have our own businesses should apply. Satisfied staff create satisfied customers, and satisfied customers advertise for you to their friends and their friends’ friends.
We all need some help and we could try and also be helpful at times!