Delegating vs. Dumping

Wouldn’t you agree that there is a huge difference between delegating to others and dumping things on them? Delegating unites people. Dumping isolates. Delegating invites people to be part of the team. Dumping pushes them away.


First and foremost, delegating is not optional. Too many pastors try to take on too much. One comment I keep hearing from lay people is that they wish their pastor would involve them more. Remember what Jethro told Moses when he saw Moses working from morning to night without help? (You can read about it in Exodus 18). He told him, “What you are doing is not good…for the thing is too heavy for you” (Exodus 18:17-18). So Moses delegated his work to others, while handling the tougher situations. One key word in this account is found in Exodus 18:22. The word is “shared.” It is also translated “lifted the burden.” In other words, they shared the load. Delegating is sharing ministry, never dumping ministry.

So how can we make sure we are delegating and not dumping? Here are 5 signs you are dumping rather than delegating.

  1. You haven’t met face to face. Delegation is about relationship. Dumping is about a checklist. It is critical to have a face to face meeting with every person you are delegating something to. Relying on emails or quick conversations can lead to misunderstandings and cynicism. Moreover, others may think you care more about the job than you do about them.
  2. You haven’t explained the big picture An important part of delegation is understanding. Dumping just tells them what to do. Delegation is successful when others know why they are doing what they are doing. That’s why delegation takes more time than dumping. It is taking people with you, not getting them to do something for you. An African Proverb put it this way, If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
  3. You haven’t given up control. True delegation gives authority, not just a checklist. Craig Groeschel says that you can develop others or you can have control, but you can’t have both. The more you control, the more you limit the growth of others. The less you control, the greater the potential for others to grow. Now, I admit that when you begin to establish a team, the leader may have to be more direct, but in time that should be replaced with trust and greater delegation.

“If you delegate tasks, you will build followers.
If you delegate authority, you will build leaders.”
-Craig Groeschel

  1. You haven’t followed up. When you delegate, you continue to work together. When you dump, you may never make future contact. Let people know from the beginning when follow-up will take place. “Inspect what you expect.” In other words, even if it’s a short update, it sends a message that you’re focused on the project and will help your people complete it successfully.
  2. You haven’t been an encouragement. Recognizing the work of others, even something as simple as saying, “thank you” or writing a note fills people’s emotional tank and encourages them to keep going. Give credit where credit is due. Don’t take credit for something someone else did. No one ever gets tired of being appreciated.


I’d love to hear you feedback on this? What are some other signs a leader is dumping rather than delegating? Which of these have you been guilt of doing?

One Comment Add yours

  1. Randy Dewater says:

    Great topic! I definitely need some work here.


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