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Delegate Like Jesus

By Steve Cartin, MDiv | October 18, 2016

by Steve Cartin, MDiv

Following on from my last blog, Jesus, Practice Owner, this could be a next step. If Jesus serves as your role model for practice ownership, you will strive to approach the various tasks and relationships in practice in the way Jesus would. Few issues are more important and more challenging for dentists than delegation.

Dentists have a unique challenge among small business owners, being the “revenue producers” (technicians) as opposed to supervising everyone else on an ongoing basis. Working chairside six to seven hours a day does not allow a dentist time to personally tend to the ever present demands of daily operations. That’s where the team comes in.

Jesus had a team. The 12 disciples were trained by the Lord to grow, nurture and lead the church for whom He lived and died. He poured His life and ministry into them. In just three years, raw recruits transformed into leaders to whom He delegated the care and responsibility for the church. Likewise, a dentist must train his or her team so that much of the care and responsibility for patients and the practice can be delegated to them. Consider one example of how Jesus trained the 12 disciples.
When He sent them out on their first missionary journey, they were novices at best. He told them what to take with them and what not to take. He told them what to say. He told them what to wear, where to go and where not to go. Nothing was left to their discretion. As their leader, He provided instruction and direction (Mark 6:7-13). But when they had been fully trained, they no longer needed this detailed instruction and direction: “…All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20, NIV 2011). They had progressed through the four stages of leadership development: novice, apprentice, journeyman and master teacher.  Notice how Jesus addressed their needs at this level:

  • Commissioning: All authority is mine; I’m sending you.
  • Encouragement/Mentoring: I will always be here for you.

The 12 disciples had developed as capable ministers and they had bought into the two-tiered value system that guided all that Jesus did: (1) Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and (2) Love others as you love yourself.

As you train your team to lead your practice and patients when you’re not standing by their side, are you properly taking them through the four stages of leadership development? Do they clearly know and have they fully accepted your values? If so, your delegation will be effective and fulfilling – for you…and for them.
One of my practices has chosen to transform their culture through implementation of the Lead Like Jesus Operating System as their overriding HR/People Development model. You can check it out at

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