Delegation -A Leadership Trait

Shah Mohammed
3 min readMar 30, 2020

Lee Iacocca wrote, “You might be good at your work. You might be capable of doing the work of two people but still, it’s only two people. But if you learn to delegate and if you could motivate another person, who in turn able to motivate another person with your guidance, you are equal to the work of thousands of people. Delegation is about inspiring the next guy below you to inspire more people. If you do not delegate, business growth will be affected”. -More productive work in less time.

Lee Iacocca further adds that one of the most challenging transitions for leaders to make is the shift from doing to delegating. It is a major psychological shift to focus less on yourself and more on the success of other people in the vital areas of the company. If you do not delegate, you end up burning out yourself, ending in inferior output.


Delegation is one of the ways to innovate. It is not about asking followers to carry out a specific action based on the leader’s instructions. It is about a leader transferring a part of his or her work and responsibility to others. It means letting others decide the best way to accomplish those tasks. It also signifies that the leader is empowering his or her people to become experts in the respective field. It also implies that a leader is open to new ideas or methods.

When a leader delegates part of his work, he sends a clear signal that he trusts his followers to produce results. It boosts the confidence of followers. The people will start showing a higher level of commitment to their work, their organization, and especially their leader. They also will begin to stretch themselves to gain new knowledge and develop new skills. The improved competency of the followers encourages the leader to entrust them with additional work and responsibilities.

Delegation is a way to build future leaders. Thus, a leader can maximize his productivity through delegation & he or she gets to spend quality time on solving critical issues.


Jesse Sostrin writes in his HBR article, “A leader needs to be more essential and less involved. When he or she justifies his or her hold on work(without delegating), he or she is confusing being involved with being essential”.

He also adds, “To know if you’re guilty of holding on to too much, answer this simple question: If you had to take an unexpected week off work, would your initiatives and priorities advance in your absence?

If you answered no or if you’re unsure, then you may be more involved than essential. To raise the ceiling of your leadership potential, you need to extend your presence through the actions of others”.


A leader needs to delegate the work and responsibilities to the right person. To accomplish this, he or she needs to understand an employee’s strengths, weaknesses, abilities, likes, dislikes, and passion. To know about them, the leader has to spend time and observe them. He has to listen to them. The knowledge helps him or her to influence his employees and build strong relationships. Delegation is people management.

People fail to advance in their careers because they don’t learn to delegate and manage their colleagues.

The above content is part of the following book -

Essential Leadership Lessons from Top CEOs by Shah Mohammed M.

References: Iacocca-An Autobiography, HBR Article on Delegation by Jesse Sostrin.