Empowerment, not power is the key to great leadership

July 7th, 2015

empowering people
A responsibility of leadership is to empower others to achieve greater things.

Traditional leaders relied on power to generate results. This type of leadership we now know doesn’t inspire or motivate people. Instead, it inhibits growth and turns people into doers rather than thinkers.

People under traditional leadership perform to instruction, doing what they are told and rarely questioning the outcome. Their purpose is to get through the day as quickly as possible so they can go home.

Empowerment, not power is the key to great leadership

Empowerment by contrast enables and encourages people to become engaged in the purpose of their work. Empowered people are motivated and inquiring and continually look for innovative ways to make work easier and smarter. 

Unfortunately, in spite of a growing awareness about engagement, too many leaders are still struggling to let go of control. They are afraid that without their direct involvement, things will fall apart. Instead, they complain about a multitude of problems and a lack of initiative and commitment from their work force.

These leaders haven’t understood the concept of empowerment. Empowerment doesn’t mean giving up personal power. Instead, empowerment engages the hearts and minds of people, inspiring them to find different ways to get better results.

“They do because they want to, not because they have to”  

People want to be part of and contribute towards something worthwhile.  They can only do this when leaders;

  • Share the vision in a way everyone understands and relates to
  • Provide clear goals and regular feedback so everyone knows how they are doing Read More
  • Empower everyone to think, solve problems and make improvements
  • Listen attentively
  • Provide all knowledge, training, resources and support people need to do a good job
  • Remove/reduce the barriers that get in the way
  • Recognise effort and achievement

When employees are empowered to contribute significantly to a meaningful outcome, their work becomes purposeful creating value for them and the business.

Are you empowering people to get results?

Jenny Johnson