Paul Hersey and Kenneth Blanchard were the first to describe the delegating leadership style in the late 1960s. The delegating leader is willing to turn over responsibility for decision making and problem solving to the followers. In turn, the followers will decide if the leader will be involved in task completion.
Hersey and Blanchard were proponents of conditional leadership, whereby leaders modify their styles to the job function or workplace environment. They characterized these styles in terms of both the task and relationship with the followers.
The delegating leadership style is thought to be most effective when the followers are comfortable taking responsibility, and have the experience to accomplish the necessary tasks. The delegating leader provides guidance in the decision making process; then delegates to followers the responsibility for completion of the task. The leader then assumes responsibility for monitoring the progress of the followers against the requirements necessary to complete the task.