Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to provide an examination of the mediating effects of empowerment and trust in the leader on the relationship between transformational leadership and two outcomes (i.e. the in-role performance of followers as rated by the leader and satisfaction with the leader). Design/methodology/approach: In total, 150 customer service operators in an Australian call-centre were invited to participate in a leadership questionnaire and informed that their performance would be rated by their immediate supervisors (i.e. their line manager) as part of the study. A sample of 109 responses were used in the analysis. Findings: Partial least squares analysis revealed that the effects of transformational leadership on the in-role performance of followers were mediated by empowerment and trust in the leader, whereas the effects of transformational leadership on satisfaction were partially mediated by trust in the leader. Research limitations/implications: The implications of the findings for leadership theorists is that a more fine-grained approach is required to understand the leadership “black box” in that different mediators have been shown to affect different outcomes. Practical implications: In a call-center context, which has high levels of control, standardization and formalization, transformational leadership can improve the performance of followers by empowering them and by developing trust in the leader. Originality/value: This paper contributes to the literature by providing a concurrent analysis of the mediating effects of empowerment and trust in the leader on the relationship between transformational leadership and in-role performance and job satisfaction.