How to Empower Your Leaders Without Feeling Out Of the Loop

Leading high capacity volunteers can feel both invigorating and like a trying to control a firehose at full blast. When high capacity leaders are on a roll it’s encouraging to see your own impact multiplied through thoughtful and energetic leaders, but it can be easy to feel out of the loop. 

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Great managers delegate but don’t abdicate, so how do you stay on top of that with the high capacity people? 

As people tasked with leading the church, what are we leading them to? Are we creating a powerful, influential organization that can, purely because of it’s size, influence positive change in a community? Or, somewhat in juxtaposition to that, are we to lead a community of believers to be “the church” in their own spheres of influence.

One objective drives me toward focusing our efforts and the other to equipping the people in the community to fulfill their own calling.

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Eph 4:11-13

Ultimately, our job as leaders in Christ’s church is to equip people to fulfill their own calling, not enlist them to fulfill ours. 

So, if that’s true, how do we then lead high capacity leaders? 

We point them on target and shepherd them along the way.

We delegate the work of the church to the body, and then stay in close enough proximity to maintain alignment with the mission of our local community and church. 

Practically that means we identify their piece of the mission/strategy and then get to work doing the work.

So, how do we empower them without getting “out of the loop”?

We schedule regular times to meet together and we ask two questions. 

1. "What are the biggest decisions you’ve made since we last talked?" 

This give you a sense of what has been most important and what you probably will be asked as their direct supervisor. It also communicates that you trust them to make decisions even if they don’t pick the exact same solution as you would have. 

2. "What are the biggest problems you are dealing with?"

This allows you to speak into and provide support in the areas which are most challenging to your high capacity leader. Knowing what problems they may be facing gives you a sense of the biggest issues facing your volunteer/leader community….and more opportunity to equip them to adequately handle the situation. 

Ultimately, your job as an equip-er is to help develop, in your team, the skills necessary to do the work Christ has us to do. Our job is to see the big picture and keep the entire church moving forward until we reach unity and maturity as an entire community. 

Final question: What’s most challenging for you as you lead high capacity people?