July 2015

There is a common complaint from followers that their leaders don't delegate enough and create bottlenecks that slow everything down. I often write and speak about the risks of maintaining control of too much, heck, one of my ego traps is "Not Letting Go of Control". But, there are a few things that emotionally intelligent leaders know they shouldn't delegate. Read on to find out what they are.


All the best,





It should be the goal of every employee who leads either people or a function to build a team of trustworthy, competent employees that they can delegate not only tasks to, but also decision making rights. However, those with high EQ understand that not everything can be delegated. There are a few scenarios when things must be done by the senior leader(s):


1. Bad news.


Leaders with EQ understand that when things are bad (revenue is down, profit is in the red, the loss of a big customer) it's important to be with employees in person to communicate information and show support. They don't chicken out or pass the buck.


2. Changes in someone's pay.


If an employee, contractor or vendor is going to be impacted by a wage freeze, a smaller bonus, a pay cut, or a change in payment terms, emotionally intelligent leaders understand that their credibility takes a huge hit if they delegate the conversation to HR, administrative support people or front line contacts.


3. Modification of employment conditions.


Things like announcements of layoffs, reduction in hours, relocations, and changes in reporting structure are all examples of things that emotionally leaders understand have to be done by them, and in person. And they also get that they should never be communicated by email or text.


4. Big changes in the organization's structure.


It never feels good to find out your employer is getting bought out by first reading it on the Internet. Emotionally intelligent leaders recognize the importance of being visible and available when big announcements are made. And they don't call an "All Hands" meeting, give the announcement, and then leave for the day (or worse, go golfing). They stay and answer questions. If there are other locations that need face time, they leave a 2nd in command available to the workforce. 


By demonstrating a sense of accountability to doing some of the dirty work, it shows employees that no one is above the difficulties of running an organization. A strong leader understands that everyone has their own version of grunt work, and doing it keeps them grounded and humble. Over the years, we have seen leaders lacking in emotional intelligence delegate all of these things and they always misestimate the fallout. The negative results include employee turnover, bad press, lower morale, disengagement and lack of respect for the executives. Although these scenarios are difficult and uncomfortable, it's vitally important to step up and face the music instead of delegating them to others. Employees don't just need their leaders to show strength and accountability on the best days, but even more on the worst.    





"Employees don't just need their leaders to show strength and accountability on the best days, but even more on the worst."
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