Biblical Perspective on Delegating Responsibilities – I

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"Solomon also had twelve district governors who were over all Israel. They were responsible for providing food for the king’s household. Each of them arranged provisions for one month of the year." -1 Kings 4:7 NLT

 

FL_Technics_Training_-_Inside_the_class_(II)Task delegation and expansion are two sides of the leadership coin. When the scope of a business manager’s roles expands, delegating responsibilities and authority to subordinates becomes strategic.

Those subordinates who absorb the excess responsibilities and authority of business owners and top leaders are, in most cases, the middle managers.

The functions of workers in the middle of the hierarchy cannot be discounted. They bridge the gap between those on top of the spectrum and those in the lower-end of the business operation. Given their intermediary function, middle managers can be potential movers or blockage to a healthy business environment.

According to Kirk Hanson, executive director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics and University Professor of Organizations and Society, the behavior of middle managers can undermine the ethical messages and the creation of an ethical culture. For Hanson, the commitment of middle managers is directly proportional to the level of commitment pass on to lower-level employees. Thus, when middle managers are not committed to the values and ethics of the company, the same lack of commitment is easily passed on to the lower-level employees.

According to Holden Leadership Center, when delegating responsibilities is done appropriately, a multiplier effect occurs. The multiplier effect in this area refers to the increase in productivity arising from specialization, sharing of responsibilities, and adding value to the subordinates. Skilled subordinates who struggle with self-confidence only need a leader who can demonstrate confidence in them.

This practice of delegating responsibilities and authority to a group or a number of middle managers was not unique to this generation. This was also one of the operational features of Solomon’s leadership.

When Solomon’s territory began growing, one of his initial responses was to delegate tasks and appoint high officials and district governors to meet the need of his household and his kingdom. Solomon did not bring prosperity and wealth to Israel during his reign on his own. The knowledge, experience, and loyalty of his middle managers contributed to his success in entering into a number of trade agreements with neighboring kingdoms.

While current Christian business owners and leaders may be working and living in rough times, and they may opt to cut off middle managers, the importance of delegating responsibilities remains.

Whether a Christian business owner or leader employs 5, 20, or 520 employees, delegating responsibilities and knowing to whom is pretty fundamental. When Christian business owners and leaders delegate well, they will be able to provide for, in the key verse’s term, food for the king’s household. In today’s business setting, this equates to accomplished goals translated to revenues that sustain the management and the workers who make up the workplace’s household.

Ronald Reagan identified three elements of effective delegation when he said, “Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don't interfere as long as the policy you've decided upon is being carried out.” These are 1.) appropriateness; 2.) evaluation; and 3.) non-interference. These three elements will be tackled in the second and last part of this two-part article series.

 

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Photo Credit: Tadas1980

Originally published at www.cfcbe.com. © 2013, The Center for Christian Business Ethics Today. All Rights Reserved.

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