Day 341: Direct, Delegate, Develop

Yesterday, during numerous sittings, I watched the Super Bowl. Not only that, but I knew what was going on! In my New Year’s post, this was one of my resolutions. Mission: accomplished!

Interestingly, I’ve just started reading a book by Clive Woodward (who was the first professional coach of the England international rugby team and led them to a phenomenal World Cup victory in 2003) and having watched the the Super Bowl, I couldn’t help but think about the role of a coach. Taking people’s abilities and helping them work together to achieve something together. I feel a bit like a coach with our youth band, come to think about it. I’d planned to write a whole post on that alone, until a quick sift through the web revealed some gold in a Forbes article by Holly Green and prompted me to pursue a slightly different tangent. Before you spot it, yes, I have noticed that it says ‘career talk for women’ and yes, I have in fact realised that I am not a woman. However, the content is too good, so laugh it up!

Green talks about the difference between coaching and managing – frankly, something that’s always confused me…they seem pretty similar after all. In a nutshell, she talks about how managing is more directive and task-oriented in style for those that are new or in need of help, whereas coaching is focused more on developing competencies that already exist. It’s what Green says next that I find fascinating. Here are some excerpts, but read the article if you have the time:

“Knowing when to direct, delegate or develop is critical to managerial effectiveness…

Direct when the employee has low to moderate competence with the skills and abilities needed to complete the task…

Delegate when the employee has moderate to high competence. Then let the employee determine the approach they will take and keep you informed as to their progress…

Develop when the employee has high competence and high commitment to the task. Then define excellence and get out the way!”

It’s both fascinating and deeply refreshing to hear this. I have to admit that I’ve heard it in various forms before, but to read it put so succinctly is extremely interesting.

In my role as leader of our youth worship team, I’ve been making a conscious effort recently to to delegate…but I feel I could do better. In fact, it’s quite a challenge to gauge where each member is at in terms of the need for direction, delegation or development. Some of our younger members are just starting out so need much more help than our older guys – but figuring out whether they’ve hit the final stage is a bit trickier. It’s an exciting conundrum to think about though, and one that I look forward to working through with team!

Do you lead anyone in any capacity? How do you figure out whether the people you lead need to be directed, delegated to or developed? Perhaps you’re being led by someone (highly likely if you aren’t a leader)? What do you need to do to show that you are capable of taking it up a level?


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