Podcast 50:Transformational Leadership Traits: Delegation

Here’s the transcript of Podcast 50

The Transformational Leader Effectively Delegates

DelegateA common leadership challenge is defining how to empower teams to function at a higher level, producing more quality results. This is an opportunity to effectively manage one’s own schedule by getting things off the schedule that someone else can do.

Delegation does not mean delegate it and forget it. Delegation does not mean micromanaging, either.

Delegation is a high-level leadership competency that continues to improve as the skill is rehearsed over time. Do not expect instant perfection. Do not expect every delegation to work out flawlessly. Do not give up or give in. When you delegate, do not let the item come back to you.

Steps for effective delegation:

  1. Shelve your ego – You are not the only person who can do everything the best way possible. Delegation is a strength of leadership and not a weakness. Embrace delegation and master the skill.
  2. Define what you should not do – This is Transformational Leadership trait #1. Now is the time to practice what you preach. By getting things off your list of responsibilities and to-do list, you become more efficient with your work and can support others as well. Some things, however, cannot be delegated. Those things that cannot be delegated are typically fewer than we first think, so spend time defining what you want to delegate.
  3. Ask for what you want – You have defined the goals for the organization and know what needs to be done. Do not assume that others are clear on what you want done. Do not assume that people will automatically fill in the gaps. Wasting time is the result of waiting for people to “get it.” Just ask.
  4. Delegate the deliverable – Do not dictate the process. You have capable leaders on the team, so let them create the process. You can, however, ask if they need ideas or information to be able to complete the deliverable.
  5. Set parameters and limits – Identify the boundaries as to the person’s authority, responsibility, and accountability. Define what they should do and what they should not do.
  6. Set check-in points – This is not micromanaging. Setting times to measure benchmarks along the way allows for coaching and affirmation during the process. Sometimes team members think that asking for information is a weakness. You are promoting collaboration, not dependence. Define these check-in times when the task is delegated.
  7. Show appreciation – People will be personally invested in the result and in the process they create.
  8. Be patient – Manage your own anxiety. If you are anxious, that negative energy will infect the team, and your ability to think clearly, as well. Observe how things are working. Nurture the process.  Give it time to work.


  1. Give it time – Remember that you are the expert and the person with the assigned task may not be as capable. Give them time to succeed. Give them time to learn. It will take more time at first. It’s worth it in the long run.
  2. Believe in positive results – Most people function at a higher level when they know that there is emotional support. Believe in the person and let them know that you care and believe in them.
  3. Keep relationship as the key connection – We all have a different sense of responsibility when the relationship is important. Always work on relationships with everyone on the team.

If you want to share other steps for delegation or tips for success, please comment.


Hugh Ballou
The Transformational Leadership Strategist

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Hugh Ballou (Author)