Do you lead with an open hand or tight fist?
After reading our 2018 ministry breakthroughs report, a friend asked me why Asian Access is growing so rapidly while other better-known ministries may not be growing. For example, he knows of a ministry and leader far better known than Asian Access that is not growing.
One reason why we’re seeing exponential growth now—apart from God’s hand of blessing after five decades of sowing— is that I’ve learned the secret to let go.
“What do you mean ‘let go’?” he asked.
Well, I always watch leaders. Some leaders don’t let anything go. They tend to have a tight fist on many things rather than an open hand. I believe a big reason A2 grows is that we allow individual leaders to lead in their own way: we are open hand.
At Asian Access, we hold tightly onto a few core values: the Essence… BUT with nearly everything else, we trust our people. We trust them to lead well, to make wise decisions and to hear from the Holy Spirit who indwells them. I believe that David can run his way, Peter can run his way, Adrian can run his way, and so on… I resource these leaders. I affirm them in what they're doing. And I get out of their way so as not to hinder them. This is empowerment.
When you do that, the ministry can grow and do so more organically and healthily. And on top of that, your people will feel a deeper sense of ownership and fulfillment with their job/role. This is a big part of fostering good morale across the board.
60% Rule of Delegating
Somewhere along the way, I learned of a general rule of knowing when you should delegate:
If someone can do 60% of what I can do or do it 60% as well as I can, then I should delegate that task to them.
Of course, genuine trust is needed for this to work. You’ve got to select and empower the right people. But as leaders, we often worry too much about making sure people run things our way, or we try to keep them from making mistakes, thinking that this will help our organization in the long run. In reality, our efforts at controlling things too much actually inhibit growth and creative expression. We would do well to remember that this is the Body of Christ at work in our Christian organizations and churches…
“From [Christ] the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” —Ephesians 4:16 (NIV)
All of us as leaders have ceilings, and I've found the biggest cap to ministry growth is usually how far we open our fists. It’s a profound truth that has changed my leadership profoundly.
How About You?
Here are a few questions to ponder:
- Do you lead with an open hand or a tight fist?
- Why is control such a temptation for us?
- Does delegation come easy for you or not? Why or why not?
- What has helped you learn to delegate more effectively?
- Have you seen delegation spur growth and creativity in your ministry?
Joe Handley, President