The act of empowering others changes lives.
People under the influence of an empowering person are like paper in the hands of a talented artist. No matter what they’re made of, they can become treasures.
It doesn’t make much difference how much other knowledge or experience an executive possesses; if he is unable to achieve results through people, he is worthless as an executive.
Empowerment: It’s sharing yourself – your influence, position, power, and opportunities – with others for the purpose of investing in their lives so that they can function at their best.
When you delegate a challenging job to an employee and give her the authority she needs to get it done, you have empowered her.
But empowering others by giving them your authority has the same effect as sharing information: You haven’t lost anything. You have increased the ability of others without decreasing yourself.
Remember: When you empower people, you’re not influencing just them; you’re influencing all the people they influence. That’s impact!
You need to have the right attitude. Many people neglect to empower others because they are insecure.
They don’t want to be replaced or displaced, even if it means that they would be able to move up to a higher position and leave their current one to be filled by the person they mentor. They’re afraid of change.
You need to believe in others enough to give them all you can and in yourself enough to know that it won’t hurt you.
1. Evaluate Them
If you give inexperienced people too much authority too soon, you can set them up to fail.
When evaluating people you wish to empower, look at these areas:
No amount of skill, knowledge, or potential can help people succeed if they don’t have the desire to be successful.
Man is made so that whenever anything fires his soul, impossibilities vanish”
-Jean La Fontaine
2. Model For Them
Model the attitude and work ethic you would like them to embrace. And anytime you can include them in your work, take them along with you.
3. Give Them Permission To Succeed
Help other believe that they can succeed. How? Two ways:
Expect it – People can sense your underlying attitude no matter what you say or do.
Verbalize it – Send them encouraging notes.
4. Transfer Authority To Them
Empowering others is more than sharing your workload. It’s sharing your power and ability to get things done.
No executive has ever suffered because his subordinates were strong and effective.”
Empowering leadership is sometimes the only real advantage one organization has over another in our competitive society.
5. Publicly Show Your Confidence In Them
You need to do it publicly. Public recognition lets them know that you believe they will succeed. And that you authority backs them up.
6. Supply Them With Feedback
You can’t let them go long without giving them honest, positive feedback.
People do what gets praised.
7. Release Them To Continue On Their Own
I neither ask nor desire to know anything of your plans. Take the responsibility and act and call on me for assistance.”
-Abraham Lincoln (letter to General Ulysses S. Grant)
If you head up any kind of organization, learning to empower others is one of the most important things you’ll ever do as its leader.
Empowering others can free you personally to have more time for the important things in life; increase the effectiveness of your organization, increase your influence with others and, best of all, make an incredibly positive impact on the lives of the people you empower.