Pastors, executive directors, and other leaders have a lot on their plates these days so whenever others can help share the load, that is a good thing. Especially in certain areas where the leader him/her-self isn’t needed. One way to do this is through delegation, another way is empowering your teams, volunteers, employees, etc.

I learned a lot about the benefits of engaging and empowering volunteers, employees, and stakeholders from the Chicago Cubs and Randy Hundley. Do your employees/volunteers act like they have emotional ownership (skin in the game) in your enterprise? Do they feel a sense of shared accountability and responsibility?  I saw this in action recently and it was a beautiful thing.

As a birthday present, I recently participated in the Randy Hundley-Chicago Cubs Fantasy Baseball Camp. We received a lot of information and many suggestions from Randy before we left for Mesa, Arizona. However once we rookies arrived, we quickly found that there still was a lot about the week that we did not fully understand and a few things we had not anticipated.

Now that is not necessarily all bad. If the alternative was for Randy to hand out a thick guide book on day one and issue a bunch rules, then include me out. Their informal approach to new player orientation gave the camp a comfortable, friendly, and liberating feel. (Who wants to spend a week reading and following a bunch of rules, anyway?) Still, we did have some questions…

Enter the returning camp veterans. These people had been through the routine before-some, many times before.  They generously offered us a lot of helpful information and valuable tips. And, once our teams for the week were announced, we rookies were welcomed onto our teams by the vets, immediately got caught up in their excitement,  and made to feel important.

The returnees/vets were not obligated to help us; no one told them they had to.  They just did. They loved the camp experience, remembered their first time there, and wanted us to have a good first camp experience, too. I believe it was their pride in the enterprise (fantasy baseball camp) that motivated everyone. They felt a sense of ownership in a terrific experience that they wanted to preserve and hand down to others. Maybe that is why this particular fantasy camp is nearly 30 years old and is still going strong…even in a tough economy.

We had a great camp that week and created life-long memories. A big part of that is due to the sense of community, engagement, and ownership we all felt. You don’t have to feel lonely at the top as a leader. Empowering and releasing your team is a great way to  share the load and still get terrific results.  And, you aren’t really giving up your position of authority, you are just sharing a little of it. No one doubted that it was Randy Hundley’s camp just because he relied on others for help.

Do your employees, volunteers, and team members have this sense of engagement, commitment, and responsibility? There are many ways to develop it. Call me and let’s talk.