I have three grown daughters. Although they are all now amazing women of God, each of them gave me some of the scariest moments of my life during their teenage years while attempting to learn to drive. At some point in learning to drive, each of my daughters came close to causing a major accident.
I do not know how driving instructors manage day to day. Although, they do have that handy brake on the passenger side that allows them to stop before having an oncoming collision. I think someone could make a good living by renting the driver’s education cars with the extra brakes to parents during the permit-driving period. It still seems a little backwards to me to mandate permit driving with the parents before the behind-the-wheel portion of driver’s education.
I was often pushing an imaginary brake during the first few sessions of my daughters driving behind the wheel of the family car. Part of the fear I was experiencing was giving up control of the steering, gas, and brakes to my little girls and trusting them to follow my verbal directions and remember all of the instructions and rules.
There are many times, as a leader, that I have to give over control to others. I know that I cannot lead effectively if I am the only one in the driver’s seat, but sometimes I find myself wanting to take over the wheel and push the other person back to the passenger side of the car again.
I have found the following steps critical in handing over control to others that I lead.
- Process: When people understand the expectations and the role they are to fill, they are able to self-lead. Exodus 18:20 says, ”Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave.” (NIV)
- Support: When people understand the resources available to them, and who they can go to for help and wisdom, they gain confidence and can function in a healthy way. As Ephesians 4:15-16 says, “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
- Accountability: When people receive a new responsibility, it is important for them to know when they will need to check in and what they will be measured on. Galatians 6:6 says, “Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.”
- Trust: As a leader, when you believe the person is capable and trustworthy, you do not hover and micromanage the task and/or the person. As Luke 6:40 notes, “The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.”
If I have been a good example and given enough thought and effort to the hand-off of a responsibility, I can let go and trust. Sometimes I may even allow a little failure—just no major train wreck, please. 1 Corinthians 11:1 says, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” This is what God does for us, and it’s what he’s called us to do for others as well.