“Delegating ‘what to do,’ makes you responsible. Delegating ‘what to accomplish’ allows others to become responsible.” – Mack Story

Now that I’ve had the privilege of being a PGA career consultant and business coach for a full year, I am more convinced that leadership through effective management and delegation, built upon trust is the key to success. It’s the tangible difference maker between the Top 10% and the average in our business.

When it comes to building teams, recruiting and developing talent, it seems there is a strong correlation between trust and effectiveness. In 20+ years, I’ve observed “those who trust, properly delegate and lead” enjoy the following benefits:

  • Trust-giving leaders have enough self-confidence to give trust, to delegate and empower
    • “Non-trusters” tend to have little or no self-awareness
    • Tend to be blame oriented (Have you recently “shot the messenger?” If yes, may I suggest you apologize and work with your team to create the right solution or pathway.)
    • Tend to be passive aggressive
  • Trust-giving leaders attract the best talent
    • Can’t attract the right talent? It may not just be the pay, maybe it’s the environment that’s not attracting them or turning them away?
  • Trust-giving leaders retain their talent, through behaviors that develop, prove value and empower said talent
    • If you’re feeling like you have talent on your team, but you can’t keep it…maybe there’s a learning opportunity here?
  • Trust-giving leaders start and stop at the expectations
    • Expected results, (eg, the vision and/or outcome) are where they stay firmly planted
    • They trust their team(s) to figure out how to “get it done” on their own
    • When failures happen, good leaders allow promote “failing forward” by creating learning/self-discovery discussions that are safe
  • Trust-giving leaders develop followers (it’s much easier to follow someone you can trust, because you feel they trust you.)

Based on the above, I’d like to reshare my thoughts on Delegating from an article published in May 2016. Here are some key excerpts:

“…I’d like to focus on DELEGATING. Many of us (if we’re honest) and other professionals (including those we respect the most) haven’t been taught what these words truly mean or more importantly how to make them happen for those whom they supervise. I was one of those professionals.

In 2009, when I was a director of golf, I had a very good, very conscientious head professional named Cameron working with me. We had worked together at that point since 2006. It was the middle of the season and I was finding myself very frustrated with how the state of our expansive practice facility (including tees setup, appearance, stacking of balls, etc.) had fallen off. To say the least, I was very fired up to fix it. In my frustration, I wrote out the detailed expectations I had for the practice facility, in terms of what it should look like, when to rotate it to manage turf, etc.

The following day, I set up a meeting with Cameron and I expected to have a bit of a battle over what he might take as a “beating from the boss.” Instead, his response totally surprised me. He said, “Well it’s about freakin’ time.” I was floored.

After reading my detailed expectations and outcomes for the practice facility again, he said, “So this is what you expect? This is my box for the practice facility?” I said, “Yes, if you and I agree on these concepts now, that is what I expect you to deliver.” Then, he said something that was an epiphany to me, “So if this is my box, do I have your permission to tell you to ‘stay the heck out of my box’ when you start stomping around in it?”

With that question Cameron was asking me the question your staff, your assistants, your team is asking you? Do you trust me enough with “this box” (whatever responsibility you give them) to actually delegate it to me?

Of course, as a “recovering meddler” there were a few times where I found myself stepping into Cameron’s box concerning the practice facility operation. He kindly reminded me that I didn’t belong there and reminded me of our agreement. To this day, I am grateful for what we both learned from that experience. I learned how to actually delegate and he learned that I trusted him.”

I challenge you to ask yourself and evaluate yourself on your ability to delegate and mentor your staff, your team and even your colleagues/peers. (Note: Self-awareness is a prized character trait these days; very much worth your effort to develop.)

  • Do I view delegation as a leadership chore or as an opportunity?
  • Would true delegation help our operation (our programming, our menu of experiences) meet the needs of more customers/members?
  • Are any of the issues below (ones I have control over) affecting my ability or willingness to delegate effectively?
  • Insecurity (Fear of task not being done well or being criticized)
  • Lack of confidence in my team
  • Lack of Quality Training (I can’t trust my staff because I haven’t adequately trained them to think, operate or lead)
  • Personal Enjoyment/Pride in the Task (Selfishness or personal pride placed in that activity)
  • Habit (Laziness, not thinking, just reacting, not proactive)
  • Reluctance Caused by Past Failures (Regret)
  • Did my past efforts to delegate fail because I really “dumped” (rather than delegated?)
  • Lack of Time (Not prioritized)
  • Would it be better for me to FOCUS on the tasks that no else can do (that I’m uniquely suited for) so my staff can be delegated?

Don’t feel like you’re ready to be a trust-giver just yet? I’m hoping you looked at the story I shared, plus answered the questions above and come to the conclusion, “I need to be better at trust-giving” and the behaviors associated with it (like delegation.)

Below are Ten Steps to Develop (Yourself and your Team) as a Trust-Giving Leader:

  1. Ask them to be “fact finders” in the area you’re planning to delegate to them.
  2. Ask them to make suggestions on why and how the target area, should be operated, completed, etc.
  3. Ask them to define what success will look like for both of you
  4. Ask them to implement one of their suggestions, but only after you give your approval.
  5. Focus on the results more than the methods
  6. Ask them to take action on their own, but communicate regularly with you including:
  7. Ask them to report any unforeseen outcomes (and their takeaways from it)
  8. Report results overall and feedback from customers
  9. Give them the right and responsibility to make decisions
  10. Give them complete authority “in their box.” Resist stepping into their box, encourage them to solve problems on their own and help them see that you trust them enough to let them learn from success and from mistakes

Being a “trust-giver” is not easy, but it is worthwhile. I asked you in my article for March 2016: Are you a “Change Agent” in golf? Being a successful leader who truly knows the definition and habit of delegating is one great way to bring change to your facility, to the lives and careers of your staffers and make your own energies go much farther. In the short and long term, this kind of change for the better should result in a better career situation for you (stability, income, role) and for those you lead.

If you’ve got a story of how you’ve grown in this area or a challenge in it, please share it with me.


Monte Koch, PGA Certified Professional/Player Development | Career Consultant
PGA Career Services | PGA of America
Serving PGA professionals, employers in the Pacific NW & Rocky Mountain PGA Sections
Email: Mkoch@pgahq.com Cell: 206/335-5260