Leadership Tip of the Day: Empowerment

7:14 AM, Sep 25, 2012   |    comments
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How often have you seen real empowerment? For example: when a manager delegates a job or a task, or a teacher opens up a new vista for a student, or when a dad buys his son his first car?

What does empowerment look like in those cases?

You remember the famous example of the two executives.

Both saw a man dying of hunger by the side of the river. The first executive raced up and gave the man a fish to eat and then went on his way feeling very good about himself. The next day the second executive came by, and taught the man how to fish, and didn't leave until the fish began to bite. That's what empowerment looks like.

Good teachers do this. They don't stand there and lecture all day, and bore the kids to death. They ask the students all sorts of questions until the students themselves come up with the answers. Successful salesmen do the same thing. They know how to ask the kinds of questions that get me interested in their product. You've seen how that works. At the end it's my decision. That's called empowerment.

And that's the secret of leadership. If I can get someone to believe it's their idea or their decision, I've empowered that person, and I've led him or her to my goal or to my mission. Now this may look like manipulation, and it is - if my goal is evil. but if my goal is good, i'm simply empowering other human beings to do what's good for them.

Leaders understand empowerment and use it all the time.

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