Through many examples, the Bible illustrates to us how the chain of command is intended to work. One of the most popular is about Joseph in Egypt, appointed by Pharaoh to be in-charge second only to Pharaoh. The delegation of duty and responsibility, as well as authority is clear in the story in Genesis 41. The verses of particular focus and advise to every leader who delegates to honor the structure established and not let anyone do an “end run” around the levels established is contained in two verses.
Genesis 41:41 (NIV)
Joseph in Charge of Egypt
41 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.”
Genesis 41:55 (NIV)
55 When all Egypt began to feel the famine, the people cried to Pharaoh for food. Then Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph and do what he tells you.”
Pharaoh honored his appointment of Joseph to the role, responsibilities and authority he had given him. Joseph was in charge and Pharaoh made it clear that the people had to go to him; Pharaoh had put Joseph in charge of those decisions over Egypt AND Pharaoh would not undermine or second guess his man.
How do you as a leader or manager do when compared to this example? Do you put someone in charge of a project and support them in their decisions? Or do you second guess, micromanage, and override decisions? If you interfere at any level, is it because the person you put in charge is not qualified and you don’t trust him or her? Or is it about you and your need to exert your position, maintain control, or otherwise behave in a manner that does not honor your commitment to the person you have delegated as your “second-in-command”?
Look to God when you are making important decisions in hiring, promoting and delegating authority and responsibility? With God you will make insightful decisions as to who will be on your team and their role. Then rely on God to enable you to fully utilize your team to represent you well and fully.
Sometimes your team may fumble and make mistakes, outcomes and methods may not be yours (and as long as they are ethical, moral, and legal) then you must learn to step back and let your people get the results for you. People learn best from making decisions. Equip them with the opportunity to learn, be a guide and a resource to them as they learn, and then prayerfully engage with your team for them to make the right decisions and seek the guidance of God in their actions and decision-making.
Author: Lea A. Strickland, MBA CMA CFM CBM GMC
Copyright ©2012 Lea A. Strickland
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