How to utilize Delegation in order to Produce Leaders

December 14, 2014 | Posted in Leadership, Professional Development | By

I love the quote from Tom Peters, “Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.”

I have thought about this quote often while at Dallas Baptist University. There are a number of questions that I ask myself about producing other leaders:

“How do we create other leaders at DBU?”
“How are we creating a culture of leadership development in our office?”
“How is my office a leader making factory?”

One way that I believe a leader can create other leaders is through delegation of responsibility. For a leader, delegation is essentially asking someone else to complete a task. That may sound strange, but I promise it has everything to do with leadership development. Let me explain:

1) Think about delegation and training as complementary. They go hand and hand.

When I assign a task onto a colleague I have much more in mind than just getting that task accomplished. I consider delegation (or asking someone else to complete a task) a method of training as well. When it comes to delegation, I am thinking about the experience that employee with go through, what skills they will pick up, and the opportunities they will have to learn to improve their professional development.

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I am looking to train our team through the tasks or projects we assign. There is a good amount of effort we go through to look at our team, as well as the work we need to complete, when it comes to delegation. We attempt to meet some of our training needs through delegation at DBU.

2) Connect the delegation (task) to the person.

When you start thinking about delegation as not just trying to get the work done, but also as an opportunity to develop your employees, it changes the way you will assign tasks.

Let me give you an example; when I look at large projects or tasks to be completed in our office, I routinely think about our team. A couple of routine questions that I ask them along the way are:

“What do you see yourself doing in 10 years? Why?”
“What do you need to learn to be effective in that role?”
“What tasks or projects would you like to be apart of in this office? Why?”
“What are the tasks or projects that you have enjoyed in this office? Why?”
“What are the tasks or projects that you have not liked doing in this office? Why?”

The reason I ask these questions is because I want to understand further about our team. I think about what professional experiences they have and also what their future career aspirations are. I am searching to learn more about their calling and the purpose that God has for them.

In the end, I am seeking to connect their callings and professional development to the tasks or projects I assign them. I am hoping to make the work relevant, valuable, and practical for them.

My desire is to help others reach their full potential in front of God so that He can use them to their maximum potential. I want our office to be a leader making factory.

For Hayden, who says he wants to learn more about finance and desires be an analyst, I am assigning him the tasks that afford him opportunities to grow this skill set. Plus, we tend to get excellent work done from him.

Not only have I found this to be very effective in their professional development, their future callings, but I have also found that job performance and job satisfaction seem to be higher as well.

3) The value is not in the task, but in the trust.

It is essential to have high trust relationships with those you work with. Having a high performing team, that is making a positive impact on your clients, department, and organization, is all about establishing and maintaining high levels of trust. You cannot work well with someone who you do not trust.

So, what does delegation have to do with trust?

Well, consistent delegation to employees by way of not only completing the work, but also by assigning tasks that enable growth and experience, will help to engender trust.

When it comes delegation, it’s much more than just the work you are trying to accomplish. It’s the imparting of the skills and habits that will transform the behavior, and eventually the character of the person you are delegating to. As a leader, it’s about helping to produce other leaders.

Once your team understands that it is just as much about their development as it is about completing the work, trust will soon follow. Your team will learn you have good interests for them, that you care for them, and they will follow you for it.

Higher performance will also soon follow, and you will have a group of people that will quite literally pour their hearts and efforts out for you and the organization.

4) Discipline produces habits, habits eventually transform into character. Character builds trust.

Trust in your team is also critical to you as a leader. You have to trust your team. You have to confidently know that they are capable, able, and are completing their work.

Have you ever assigned a task and then wondered if it ever got done? Well, that is not trusting your employees.

Through delegating tasks, you can create an environment for building trust. Experience by experience, delegation by delegation, the leader should coach employees to follow through and follow up with assignments. This is especially important with new employees, it is important to help develop a discipline, which will turn into habits, and eventually a character that builds trust.

The long-term value of having an employee you can implicitly trust is much greater than the time you will give in delegating work and training them.

When you do this, you can assign a task and know confidently that the work is completed well. For the leader, this is such a great situation and peace of mind.

By engendering these four suggestions, consistently modeling this behavior, I believe this is one practical way for you as a leader to produce other leaders in your organization.

Give it a shot. You may just see some incredible things happen!

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Surfing Lessons: Overcoming Stress at Work

January 12, 2014 | Posted in Professional Development | By

Have you ever had a stressful day at work? How about one of those extraordinarily frustrating days where it feels like every second there is someone or something coming to you with an urgent crisis? Fires are popping up everywhere around the office, and it would seem like the entire world is focused on giving you the urgent task, which if not solved, will result in the end of the human race. Well, at least, a very upset employee or customer.

On these days there is absolutely no hope in getting anything than you want accomplished. You are a slave to the urgent, not the important. These days are incredibly frustrating, draining and stressful to say the least. We have all been here. In fact, I had one of these days this past week.

When I experience days like this, I often think of Surfing.

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With surfing, there are some days where you get knocked off each and every wave you try to ride. When you jump on your surf board, you immediately get knocked off. The harder you try, the harder you fall back into the water … it’s this over and over again throughout the entire day.

The only thing you can do on days like this is to just ride the wave. Meaning go with the flow and let the waves take you where they may. The harder you fight it, the more stressful and frustrating the day will become. Let the day pass, then come back tomorrow morning, with your surf board in hand, and hit the waves again!

Here are a couple of good things to remember when you are getting nailed by some intense waves:

1)    Struggling with the waves builds your strength and surfing experience.

Fail often so you can succeed sooner. The best surfers in the world are not only great at riding waves, but also at wiping out. Remember, there is always something to learn and grow by having a stressful day at work. Difficult days periodically lead to times of reflection and self-thought after day is over. Ask yourself, what could I have done differently today? How else might I have better managed my time, or what pieces of good insight did I learn today?

2)    You need a “leg rope” or a “safety net”.

Surf boards come with what’s called a “leg rope” or “leash” that attaches your ankle to the board. This way when you get knocked off your board it keeps the board from being swept away. Just the same, when you have your crazy, stressful days at work. Make sure you have a “leg rope” or what I call a “safety net”; this is a system to keep track of all your tasks in easy access for when your stressful day passes.

I personally keep lists of all of the items that I will need to follow up with once the urgent has passed. I use a combination of a task manager called Wunderlist and also Outlook e-mail. This way I don’t forget what I will need to complete the following day. This could also be as easy as sending yourself e-mails of tasks to complete. Regardless, you need a safety need to help you remember and to follow up later.

3)    Take time to find an experienced surfer and debrief.

Often times beginning surfers will hang around other more experienced surfers to pick up the “art of surfing”. More experienced surfers add great value for the young surfer; they can help them to develop their form, show them the best spots to surf, where the best waves are hitting, and also the how the determine the best weather to head to the beach.

Just as in the work place, more experienced friends and mentors will provide encouragement to you on and after the stressful days. Remember, we are not meant to do life alone, this includes work, you need to find good people you can trust to share experiences with and learn from theirs.

4)    If you keep getting knocked off your board every day, you may need to rethink your form and start taking surf lessons again.

If your daily routine becomes getting nailed by the waves every day, it may be time to trying something new at the office. Work should not feel like a continual assault day after day. If this describes the majority of your days at work, then you may need to rethink your planning or organization. As an idea, rethink how you plan you day. Do you write down goals? If not, start. Do you have a safety net? If no, try it out. Talk with others and observe more experienced surfers. From what you observe, experiment with new possibilities and more efficient ways to complete your work. Remember, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.

5) Don’t let a few days of having rough waves discourage you.

Remember, nothing worth doing is easy. Part of surfing, or working in a meaningful job, is that it’s exciting to have a challenge and then growing to overcome it! You’re going to have good days and also stressful days, but don’t let that discourage you from going back out again the following day. Who knows, the most beautiful ocean and best waves could be waiting for you.

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Target Practice: Being a High Achiever in 2014

January 4, 2014 | Posted in Professional Development, Purpose | By

Why should we have a high priority to focus on goal setting for 2014?

Well, it’s all about setting your sight and hitting the target. Here are a couple of very important reasons why goal setting is valuable.

First, studies show that we are grossly more effective in our personal, professional and even spiritual lives when we have a target or goal that is set in front of us. High achievers are goal oriented. If you want to make the most of your year and really achieve great results, this is a simple truth, SET GOALS!

Second, we tend to get what we focus on. When we focus on timeless goals that make an impact in our development, we tend to see positive transformational growth for our personal, professional and or spiritual lives. Think of this as setting your sights on a target. If you do not set your sight on a good target, you will decrease the likelihood of hitting anything.

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Each year, I spend a week or so before and after the new year to reflect on the previous year’s goals as well as what I need to focus my energy on in the future year. It is during this time where my mind is flooded with all sorts of items, tasks and desires for the future. It’s during this time that I spend consistent time in prayer bringing these ideas to God asking Him to outline for me how he would like me to grow this next year.

When setting your goals for this next year, here are a couple of important things to keep in mind:

1) Make SMART goals.

When I mean SMART goals, I mean the frequently used acronym for goals setting which are Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, and Time Related (SMART). Make your goals with SMART in mind.

After I start thinking through my ideas for the next year, I make sure that all of my goals eventually fit these characteristics. Here are few examples of my 2014 goals for this year using the SMART guidelines:

  • Become a basic conversationalist in Spanish by completing the level 1 and 2 courses by Rosetta Stone.
  • Loose 30lbs and be in the best shape of my life.
  • Develop and grow as a teacher of the bible by leading a Men’s bible Study for College Students and young men at DBU.
  • Maintain my Website and Blog, actively post new knowledge and engaging content weekly.
  • Develop as a Public Speaker; evaluate and commit to speaking at 6 different public speaking events this year.

2) Write down your goals.

By writing down your goals you engage yourself to really think about what is important to you during the next year. If you do not take the time to write out your goals, you will be less likely to achieve them.

Michael Hyatt shared on his blog this week about a conclusive research study by Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California. Her study on goal-setting with 267 participants found that you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down.

3) Get accountability and regularly discuss your goals with others you trust.

After I develop my goals for the year, I share them with a group of close men whom I trust. One of them is my friend Sam, who recently shared with me the following reminder about goals setting and accountability:

“The ultimate outcome we want is to go through life together and get each other’s back so that we can successfully keep moving in the direction God is calling us to. So, spend some time just thinking and praying about this next year … Remember, Community is God’s answer to defeat. Ecclesiastes 4:10 says, “If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”

Remember, you can try, but you can’t live life well on your own. We all need other people to walk with us, work with us, and watch out for us. Be sure you share you goals with someone you trust and ask for accountability in how you are working to achieve your goals throughout the year.

4) Do not get discouraged when you feel that you’re not meeting some of your goals.

This past year I personally missed achieving about half of my 2013 goals I set for myself. In fact, most high achievers frequently miss their goals, but think of how many goals they would have achieved if they did not set a yearly goal and put an action plan in place? Probably none. Goal setting for the year is key; but realize you may not achieve all that you set your sites on and do not get discouraged.

5) Do not be afraid to re-prioritize your goals throughout the year.

An exciting part of goals setting is that they can be changed. Frequently I will go through the year, stumble upon some additional information or be led by God in another direction. During these times some of my yearly goals will change.

Given that we desire to constantly learn more, our aim or goals will frequently change. Do not be afraid to tweak your goals, this is not admitting defeat, but rather applying additional knowledge that you received to improve your aim.

Remember, if you do not pick up the bow to set your sights on the target, you will miss the mark 100% of the time. If you wish to be a high achiever for 2014, be sure you take time to set your yearly goals.

God Bless in 2014!

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Reverse Your Thinking

December 8, 2013 | Posted in Professional Development, Purpose | By

In our lives we have been told to focus on externals. By externals, I mean anything outside of your body, ie: Money, Possessions, Power, Accomplishment, aka. Stuff.

The problem with externals is that they will never bring you happiness, meaning or purpose. For generations psychologists, philosophers and religious leaders have all been “preaching” the same thing (pun intended). There is no-doubt that by focusing on externals, we will never find meaning.

You are therefore are left with a choice, we can either (1) choose to ignore these warnings and focus on STUFF, or (2) choose to REVERSE YOUR THINKING  and focus on something else. The only thing left besides the external is the internal. We can look inward to find purpose, meaning and happiness.

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Recently, we listed a quote of the week from Laura Goodrich, “You get more of whatever you focus on”. 

This quote is a helpful reminder for us that whatever we dwell on, chase after, or achieve for, is usually what we get. Whatever we focus on affects our attitude, behavior, lifestyle and relationships with others. When we focus on negative consequences, we tend to think in a negative context. When we focus on externals, we become driven by them and are often devastated when they either do not materialize, or are left with a void after their limited gratification wears off.

This quote also has application when looking at your Purpose in Life.

In the years prior to my graduation from College, I preoccupied myself with finding a good job. The great majority of my efforts were focused externally on one thing, a great job upon graduation. I focused so heavily on this one thing, I eventually drove myself sick trying to land the perfect job. In the end I was utterly confused about my career path.

It was not until I focused on my internal self; through an intimate, self-awareness journey to learn what my God-given skills & abilities were, my personality and behavior, and my passions and desires, did I begin to understand how and what I was made for. I began to understand my Purpose in Life.

I reversed my thinking by not focusing on the job, but focusing on who I was and what came naturally to me. I then would find vocations that fit these areas of my life.

Focusing on me resulted in receiving a great job offer upon my graduation as a by-product of my understanding of whom and what I was. Focusing on my Purpose in Life made the job process an authentic and natural extension of who I was. I reversed my thinking by not focusing on the job, but focusing on who I was and what came naturally to me. I then would find vocations that fit these areas of my life.

As another example, the bible tells us that our focus should be on Christ. Matthew 6:33 says to seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and His Righteousness, and all else shall be added. Understanding that “We tend to get what we focus on”. We are to develop a reliance on Christ and relentlessly pursue Him. By doing this, all else in a fulfilled life and a life of purpose will be added. Christ is not only vertically above us, but as a Christian, he also lives inside of us through the Holy Spirit.

We need to change our focus. We need to reverse our thinking.

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Shoe Shopping and finding Purpose

November 17, 2013 | Posted in Purpose | By

What does shoe shopping have to do with finding purpose? Well, I’m glad you asked. Let’s start by picturing yourself in a large shoe store, very similar to the store shown below:

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There are rows and rows of shoes with different colors, sizes, shapes and materials. As you peruse through the rows of shoes, you begin to see certain styles and colors that appeal to you. Selecting a few different shoe styles, you begin to try them on, one by one, to see which fits most comfortably. You begin asking yourself, which shoes look the best on you, and which shoes best fit the purpose and reason for their purchase?

Finding purpose, is a lot like shoe shopping.

As we described earlier in this site, Purpose is a deep rooted set of values in which you believe that what you are doing is worthwhile and will have a positive and beneficial impact on others and society. Purpose in Life is the foundation in which all else of a fulfilled life and impactful career is derived. People that have a greater sense of purpose in their lives, resulting from a heightened level of self-awareness, tend to perform to greater extents than their counterparts and are more fulfilled and happy in their lives. Purpose in Life begins from a very intimate, vulnerable understanding on one’s self, including one’s skills & abilities, personality & behavior, passions & desires, as well as a willing and prayerful heart for God’s direction.

From my years of working with college students and in higher education administration, I have found everyone’s process to find purpose is very different. However, I have noticed a particular trend that involves focusing on these areas: (1) skills & abilities, (2) personality & behavior, (3) passions & desires, (4) a willing and prayerful heart for God’s direction.

No one, apart from God, can find your own purpose in life. It is up to the individual to start their journey to see what skills & abilities, personality & behavior, passions & desires they have, and then begin to see what shoe fits. All we can do is take others to the shoe store, provide advice based on our own experiences, and point them in the right direction. The size, style and color is up to the wearer.

If you decide to take this journey, you will encounter some very hard and sometimes scary truths about yourself. However, it is in those moments of vulnerable self-awareness that you can understand what experiences (both good and bad) that have shaped you overtime. I encourage you to map out your skills & abilities, understand your personality & behavior, and cultivate your passions & desires — then bring this all back to God and ask Him what He wants you to do with it.

The bible tells us in 1 John 5:14-15 that if we have confidence to ask in His name and in His will, our Lord will answer us.

I encourage you to begin the journey to understand purpose, you need to start to mediate and “unpack” these areas about yourself.

It’s time to go shoe shopping!

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