A leader delegates when they cannot handle all the tasks on their own so they engage the team to help. In many cases, the leader also looks to delegate tasks that will help their team grow as they guide them through this process. The key to successful delegation is exactly this, the continued observation, guidance and support of those tasks being performed by your team.
A leader abdicates a task when they turf it off to someone on their team – no guidance, no support, no feedback, just the task. It’s usually accompanied by “I’ll leave it to you to figure out” – the problem with this approach is that the path to be chosen will invariably not be the leader’s first choice which invariably will create conflict down the line between the two as they attempt to reconcile and complete the task.
Another way to look at it, when done right, delegation can lead to growth and future leadership.
But abdicating that work, will always lead to frustration.