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Aug 19, 201308:40 AMForward HR

with Diane Hamilton and Nilesh Patel

5 tips for becoming a more effective delegator

(page 1 of 2)

I’ve been fortunate to work with many very good leaders over the years. Those who have been most successful have worked hard to surround themselves with good people. They also know that it takes more than having good people around you — it’s about tapping into and developing talent.

Lately I’ve been encountering many senior level leaders who have talented teams but are failing to take advantage of that talent. I’m talking about a CEO who feels the need to edit memos two or three levels down the organization. Or a GM who has to run everything by the business owner. Or a VP who is stripped of authority because she needs to check with the president on the simplest of matters. These are very highly paid, talented leaders who are not allowed to make decisions and move the business forward.

The reasons given for failing to delegate and maintaining tight control are many (e.g., can’t afford to make mistakes; my board expects me to have these answers, so I have to stay involved; I don’t trust it will be done the way it needs to be). While I can empathize with some of the reasons (justifications) provided, the ramifications are far-reaching (and often eye-opening for the leaders who maintain this tight control).

This is what I’ve been hearing from the leaders who report directly or indirectly to these control freaks:

  • “I just want to add value. It is so demotivating to have to run every decision by X.”
  • “I’m talking to a head-hunter right now. I can’t make any decisions. It sounds silly, but I’m making way too much money to be a puppet. If I could just live with that it would be fine. But I want to make a difference where I work.”
  •  “It strips me of all credibility. My direct reports know that I’m not really in charge of this project.”

So to those leaders who have tight-fisted control and fail to delegate either responsibility or authority — enough already! It’s time to delegate.


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About This Blog

 Diane Hamilton, PCC, SPHR, is the owner and founder of Calibra, a coaching and consulting firm focused on maximizing leadership potential. Nilesh Patel is the principal attorney of the Mahadev Law Group, LLC, which focuses on human resources and employment law issues for organizations. He can be reached at Both bloggers are members of Wisconsin SHRM, which is dedicated to being the state leader in HR management and the premier source for HR expertise and resources. More information can be found at You can follow the WI SHRM blog at



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