Equip, Don’t Delegate!

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” ~Viktor E Frankl

I wish I could tell you how many times I have heard a leader tell me they just need more help. This is probably one of the number one thing I hear from leaders. So, I have heard it more than I can count.


When I was first leading, I learned the term delegation. And I thought yeah that is what I need to learn. I need to learn to give others some of my work so I can get more done. I would give it to them, but I would not give them the authority to make it their own.

I want to share with you the topic of equipping others. What is the difference between delegation and equipping?

Delegation means I hand you some of my work and then I go do something else. Often what happens in delegation is that feelings get hurt. The leader (me) comes back later only to begin to tell you what you did wrong. Then the leader (me) will take back the work that was delegated. Often what is said, and not aloud; “I don’t want to look bad to my boss, so I make sure I get it done right.”

I have heard this story 100's of times. If often sounds like this: “If I want it done right, I might as well do it myself.”

Guess what? Now you need more help because you took back the work you delegated, and no one wants to help you again because you are only worried about how you look to others not building and equipping others on your team.

Equipping requires you to lead

Delegating is a passive act of leadership. But equipping must be intentional for it to be effective and create the kind of leaders you are seeking to create.

Why equip? Equipping multiplies your ability and potential. When you teach others what you know or allow other to do things, they are more naturally gifted at than you are, your success multiplies. Growth for everyone!

Equipping is an intentional process of teaching others the things you want to “delegate” to your team. Maybe it is the budget or supplies maintenance or quality checks. Anything required of you that is taking time you could use in developing other leaders or working on strategy and meetings to equip more leaders.

How do you do it? First, commit. Look yourself in the mirror and commit to equip and not delegate. Commit to let go of your perfectionism and allow others to make some of the mistakes you have made to learn to get to where you are today. Commit to encourage and not condemn or criticize when things aren’t done the way you would do them. They might even be done better!

When I was in the Army, I learned this model: See one, do one, teach one.

An instructor would show how while I watched and learned. Then I would do one to gain confidence in my ability and learn what I had been taught. Then I would teach someone else what I had learned.

Nothing is fully learned until it can be taught to someone else.

This Army formula is a great start, but I learned from John Maxwell to not just add, but to multiply. 

As a leader, you must equip others, then watch them equip others to a point that these new leaders can go out and equip others. This is the true formula for equipping and ultimately reproduction.

This is succession planning that is executed!! Not just thinking about it. Not just dreaming about having more help. Not whining about not having enough time to get everything done. Equipping others on your team to help you get the job done. Now you are truly leaving a legacy of reproduction in the team you lead.

Remember this; delegation leaves people where they are, equipping takes people where you want them to go.

Are you tired of doing it all? Are you tired of not enough day at the end of the time? Find a way to intentionally lead others and equip them for success. If you do this consistently, you will find you have more time than you ever thought possible. 

      “The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive environment in which you first find yourself.”~ Mark Caine



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