4 Ways that Follow-Up Can Add Horsepower to Your Leadership

Like Don't move Unlike

Are you a delegator or an abdicator?

Both types of leaders hand off assignments to others, and both expect positive results.

But that’s where the similarity ends. Because once the abdicator has handed off the project they wipe their hands of it and move on to other priorities. More often than not the abdicator will discover too late that a project has not met expectations.

But the delegator remains appropriately engaged, and is therefore far more likely to experience a positive outcome.

What’s the difference?

In a word, it’s follow-up. Effective leaders I know are disciplined to build follow-up into their work assignments. They know that when you plan for follow-up at least four positive outcomes can be expected:

1.   You add value to the project, and to the person to whom you’ve assigned the project
Think of a time you may have asked your son or daughter to do a chore, such as mowing the lawn. When you take the time to check out their work afterward and to then say, “Good job!” you’re communicating that their work was worth your time and attention.

2.   You communicate your commitment
Your team will know whether or not you’re fully engaged. And it matters.

3.   You are able to provide appropriate resources
Often it’s only when a project gets underway that a clear picture of the resources required come to light. Has enough man-power been assigned? Enough funding? Enough time? Delegators can assign or re-assign needed resources early on.

4.   You ensure the project is still “on the rails”
Even if you think the project was communicated clearly at the outset, it’s uncanny how often things can veer off course. Follow-up ensures the project remains pointed in the right direction.

Delegation is not the same as micromanaging. Micromanaging is rooted in either lack of trust, an obsessive need for control, or both. Delegation, expressed through follow-up, is rooted in setting the conditions for a successful project.

So the next time you assign a project, take a moment and ensure that you’ve built in regular follow-up.

The results will be worth it.

the author

Scott Cochrane


  1. Thanks Dan- you’ve nailed the tension, when you talk about delegation versus micromanaging. The grid I use to navigate the tension is that delegation is characterized by following up on progress and results- Micromanaging is focused on methods. A focus on HOW a job is being done will suck the life out of an organization.

    Thanks for weighing in.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *