December 11, 2023

An important part of being a leader is knowing how and when to delegate tasks to colleagues, direct reports, and other team members. The best leaders use delegation to increase efficiency, increase team productivity and confidence, and provide team members with opportunities for professional development. While delegating work is a hallmark of a good leader, how do you maintain accountability when assigning responsibilities to others?

We recently sought expert advice from our key executives on how to empower while maintaining accountability.

Here are their responses…

Michael Willis, Head of Sports Business Operations

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As an executive, I always hold myself accountable for anything that happens in my operations, good or bad. I am responsible for the outcome.

Unlike authority and responsibility, accountability cannot be delegated. I have a sense of responsibility.


It is my responsibility to build a team capable of delivering deliverables. As a leader, my job is to make sure the right people are in the right place.

I am responsible for equipping each team member with the technical knowledge to reach their full potential. But more importantly, leadership must let the team understand why tasks matter and how they fit into the bigger picture. The team needs to know what is at stake.

As the company’s mission, goals, and competitors change, leadership is tasked with making the necessary adjustments to ensure the team is up to the challenge at hand.

Finally, the team leader inspires team commitment. People are excited about what’s possible, but only commit to it when they understand their role in meeting the challenge.

michael willis 18+ years of experience working with accounting and sports organizations, managing P&Ls from $10 million to over $125 million and budgets from $3 million to over $50 million. He worked in the NFL for 22 1/2 years, mostly with game officials on the financial/accounting side.

Ana Smith, Talent Architect and Global Learning Strategist

Authorization/Leadership Concepts

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Delegation is the act of delegating tasks or responsibilities to others while still retaining ultimate responsibility for the results. Effective delegation is a powerful tool for leaders because it helps increase productivity, builds trust among team members, and allows leaders to focus on higher-level tasks.

A key aspect of delegation is ensuring that the tasks delegated are clearly defined. This means being specific about what needs to be done, deadlines for completion, and desired outcomes. When those undertaking tasks fully understand what is expected of them, they are more likely to succeed and there is less risk of misunderstandings or delays.

Choosing the right people to delegate tasks is also important. It is important to consider the skills and experience required to successfully complete the task. When delegating tasks, choosing someone with the necessary skills and experience will increase the chances of a positive outcome and minimize the risk of errors or delays.

Providing the necessary resources is another important aspect of delegation. Leaders must ensure that those undertaking tasks have access to all the resources they need to successfully complete them. This may include information, tools, equipment or budget.

Regular inspections are also important to ensure that tasks are on schedule and that any issues are resolved in a timely manner. Even if the leader trusts the people taking on the tasks, it’s important to set up regular check-ins to monitor progress and provide support when needed.

Leaders must also be held accountable for the success or failure of delegated tasks. As leaders, they are ultimately responsible for outcomes and must be ready to take responsibility and provide support if things don’t go as planned.

Finally, when things don’t go as planned, learning from your mistakes is essential. Leaders should take this opportunity to analyze what went wrong and identify ways to improve the delegation process next time. By doing this, they can increase the effectiveness of their delegation skills and ultimately lead to better outcomes for the entire organization.

In summary, effective delegation requires clear communication, careful selection of the right people, provision of necessary resources, regular checks, accountability and learning from mistakes. By following these guidelines, leaders can effectively delegate tasks while still being accountable for results.

anna smith Helps people and organizations realize their full potential by developing and co-creating people strategies and custom solutions, and translating them into impactful outcomes and collaborative relationships, with coaching as the “red thread”.

Lisa Perry, Head of Global Marketing

Manager delegates tasks to his team members

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Delegating tasks to others is an essential skill for leaders, but it’s important to do so in a way that ensures accountability for the end result. Here are some tips on how to delegate while maintaining accountability:

  1. Clearly define tasks: Make sure that the person you delegate understands exactly what needs to be done, the expected outcome, and any relevant deadlines. This will help avoid misunderstandings and ensure everyone is on the same page.
  2. Assign responsibilities: Make sure the person you delegate has the resources, responsibility, and support to complete the task. This includes any training, equipment or other resources that may be required.
  3. Set checkpoint: Establish regular checkpoints to review progress and make adjustments as needed. This helps ensure tasks stay on track and any questions or concerns are addressed in a timely manner.
  4. Provide feedback: Regularly provide positive and constructive feedback to those you delegate tasks to help them improve their performance and ensure successful completion of tasks.
  5. Monitor progress: Keep an eye on progress and be ready to step in and provide additional support or guidance if needed. This will help ensure that tasks are completed successfully and any issues or challenges are resolved in a timely manner.
  6. Take ultimate responsibility for: Finally, as a leader, you are responsible for the outcome of any tasks you delegate. It is important to take this responsibility and ensure the successful completion of the task, even if you are not directly involved in the execution.

By following these tips, you can delegate tasks effectively while remaining accountable for the results. Not only will this help ensure success, but it will also help build trust and confidence in your leadership abilities among team members.

Lisa Perry Helping companies build leadership brands, drive loyal customers and achieve profitability. She does this through the process of building brands that consumers love. Her goal is to help companies develop, monetize and grow their brands.

How do you delegate while maintaining accountability?join the conversation inside Work It Daily’s Execution Plan.

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