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Empowerment through delegation: finding harmony between trust and control.

Delegation and Trust: The Balancing Act of Empowering Others while Maintaining Control

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  • Post last modified:March 25, 2024


A leader hands over a task to a team member, illustrating the concepts of delegation and trust.
Empowerment through delegation: finding harmony between trust and control.

In the realm of leadership, few challenges are as daunting as the delicate dance between delegation and trust. Striking the right balance between empowering others and maintaining control can be akin to navigating a tightrope in a storm. For many leaders, the fear of relinquishing control and trusting others with crucial tasks is a source of profound anxiety and frustration. Yet, mastering the art of delegation is not just about assigning tasks—it’s about fostering a culture of empowerment and trust within your team.


Are you struggling to let go of control in your professional endeavours? Do you find it challenging to trust others with important tasks? Many leaders face the agony of delegation, fearing loss of control and potential failure.


The fear of delegation often stems from past experiences of disappointment or micromanagement nightmares. You might worry about the quality of work, the timeline, or even the possibility of tasks being mishandled. This constant tension between wanting to empower others and the need to maintain control can lead to stress, burnout, and ultimately, stagnation in your career or business.


But what if there was a way to break free from this cycle of distrust and hesitation? By understanding the art of delegation and nurturing trust within your team, you can achieve a harmonious balance of empowerment and control. Delegation isn’t about relinquishing authority; it’s about leveraging the strengths of your team members to achieve collective success while maintaining oversight.


Key Strategies of delegation and trust

Here are some key strategies:

1) Clear Communication

Effective delegation begins with clear communication. Clear communication entails articulating tasks, expectations, and deadlines explicitly to avoid misunderstandings and ensure alignment among team members. In essence, it’s about providing clarity and direction to facilitate successful task completion.


Clear communication involves conveying information in a concise, understandable manner, leaving no room for ambiguity or confusion. Instead of vaguely instructing a team member to “work on the project,” clear communication would involve specifying the project’s objectives, scope, and timeline, such as “Please research and compile data for the marketing report by Friday, ensuring accuracy and relevance.”


Quote: “Communication is the real work of leadership.” Nitin Nohria, Dean of Harvard Business School


2) Trust-building Exercises

Investing time in trust-building exercises is crucial for fostering a cohesive and supportive team environment. These exercises can include activities such as team-building retreats, icebreaker games, and trust falls, all aimed at cultivating mutual respect and understanding among team members. Trust-building exercises are activities designed to strengthen trust, cooperation, and collaboration within a team, enhancing communication and teamwork.


A practical example would be organising a team-building retreat where team members engage in problem-solving activities or outdoor challenges that require trust and cooperation, fostering stronger bonds and a sense of camaraderie.


Quote: “Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” Stephen Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”


3) Empowerment Techniques

Empowering team members involves granting them the autonomy and authority to make decisions and take ownership of their work. This can be achieved through delegation of authority, providing resources and support, and encouraging innovation and creativity.


Empowerment techniques are strategies aimed at enabling individuals to take initiative, exercise autonomy, and contribute meaningfully to the team’s goals and objectives. A practical example would be allowing team members to lead their own projects from conception to completion, providing guidance and support along the way, and recognising their achievements and contributions.


Quote: “Leadership is not about being in charge. It’s about taking care of those in your charge.” Simon Sinek, author and Speaker


4) Leadership Development Programmes

Implementing leadership development programmes is essential for nurturing and enhancing the skills and confidence of team members in their respective roles. These programmes may include workshops, seminars, mentorship programmes, and ongoing training initiatives.


Leadership development programmes are structured initiatives designed to cultivate leadership skills, competencies, and qualities among individuals within an organisation, enabling them to effectively lead and inspire others. A practical example would be providing leadership training sessions focused on communication, decision-making, conflict resolution, and other essential leadership skills, tailored to the specific needs and goals of the team.


Quote: “The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” Ralph Nader, Activist and Author


5) Collaborative Work Culture

Fostering a collaborative work culture entails creating an environment where ideas are freely exchanged, and feedback is welcomed. It involves promoting open communication, mutual respect, and a sense of collective responsibility for achieving common goals.


A collaborative work culture is characterised by teamwork, cooperation, and shared decision-making, where individuals work together towards a common purpose, leveraging each other’s strengths and expertise. A practical example would be implementing regular team meetings where team members are encouraged to share ideas, provide feedback, and collaborate on projects, fostering a culture of transparency and inclusivity.


Quote: “Collaboration allows teachers to capture each other’s fund of collective intelligence.” Mike Schmoker, Educator and Author



In the complex landscape of leadership, mastering the art of delegation and trust is a journey rather than a destination. By embracing empowerment, fostering trust, and maintaining a balance between control and autonomy, leaders can unlock the full potential of their teams and pave the way for sustainable success.


By implementing these strategies, leaders can transform delegation from a source of anxiety into a catalyst for growth and innovation. So, let go of fear, embrace trust, and empower your team to soar to new heights of achievement.


Together, let’s build a future where delegation isn’t just a task—it’s a cornerstone of effective leadership and team success.


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Elphas Sipho Mdluli- MBA Areas of Expertise Business Leadership – Operations Leadership – Financial Management – Process Optimisation – Decision Making Stakeholder Engagement – Project Delivery – Organisational Strategy – Relationship Management – Negotiation Skills Strategy Development – Change Management – Relationship Building – Team Empowerment – Performance Improvement Critical Thinking – Systems Thinking – Strategic Planning – People Management – Business Administration Executive Summary As a meticulous, driven and people-oriented professional, Elphas is motivated by ensuring the achievement of organisational goals. He is fuelled by improving business performance, whilst his all-embracing skillset has enabled him to successfully execute projects across various platforms. His career has presented the effective delivery of solutions, leveraging expertise in financial, operations, administrative and business processes, as well as the management of integrated transformational projects. Elphas thrives in complex environments where strong leadership is required to drive business performance. As a highly focused and participative leader who believes in effective teamwork, he prides himself on his innate ability to connect with and lead stakeholders across all levels of an organisation. With a dedication to continuous improvement, Elphas has completed a vast range of courses, including currently completing his Doctor of Business Administration, building upon his MBA, Bachelor of Ministry degree and Bachelor of Commerce degree in Accounting, to mention just a few. Career Summary Elphas has built his career on a strong academic foundation across a diverse range of areas, including accounting, management development, ministry, finance, corporate governance, risk management, behavioural intelligence, leadership and business administration. He is a Business Leader, an Author, a Lecturer and a pillar within his community. His diverse roles have shaped his skillset and his early roles consisted of Chairperson and Senior Pastor for Christian Liberty Centre and Branch Officer for Select Management Services before moving to Sibonelo Savings and Credit Cooperative Society as Accountant, Manager and then General Manager. In 2013 Elphas spearheaded the start-up of Life Solutions Investments, an organisation providing Training & Consultancy as well as leading operations of a Block Yard. He has also been contracted by Calvary College as a part-time Lecturer. In addition, Elphas has written and published numerous books based in business, marriage and spirituality, as well as being Founder and Senior Pastor of the Freedom Centre International Church. As a result of his sharp business acumen, Elphas was offered the role as Executive Manager for Eswatini Association of Savings and Credit Co-operatives (ESASCCO) where he effectively led teams across various departments. He oversaw Administration, Finance, Training, ICT and the Insurance departments. Elphas has consistently excelled in improving performance and has enjoyed many successes throughout his career, which is evident in the success of the organisations in which he is involved. Elphas provides a significant contribution to the long-term sustainable growth through his extensive experience, vast administration knowledge and impeccable business leadership abilities. His implementation skills are forefront in overall strategic development, and his involvement in business ensures ground-breaking improvement in performance. He is a resourceful professional who has a passion for the development of commerce and the progress of human capital within business, ensuring and facilitating significant growth and financial health of an organisation.