Empowerment Works, If You Work It

November 26, 2013 — 6 Comments

Some leaders say that Empowerment is passe, cliched.

I disagree.

There is still power behind empowerment.

Don't forget about Empowerment as a Leadership Tool

Empowerment is still a Bright Idea!
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Review this definition from BusinessDictionary.com and see for yourself.

“A management practice of sharing information, rewards, and power with employees so that they can take initiative and make decisions to solve problems and improve service and performance.

Empowerment is based on the idea that giving employees skills, resources, authority, opportunity, motivation, as well as holding them responsible and accountable for outcomes of their actions, will contribute to their competence and satisfaction.”

Empowerment is a Basic Tenant of Good Leadership.  

My question to you, as executive to executive, leader to leader, manager to manager —- do you empower your people?

Before you blithely say, “I certainly do!”.  Tell me how you would answer the following 12 questions to see how you fare.

If you still don’t agree about the power of empowerment, please humor me.  Spend just a few minutes to answer these same 12 questions and see if you feel differently.  You might be missing out on having a more effective, efficient and happier team.

12 Questions To Gauge How Much You Empower Your People

1. If someone on your team makes an appointment with your boss for a 1:1 meeting just between the two of them, how do you feel?

2. When your people make a decision, what is your reaction? Do you consistently overturn their decision or make tweaks?

12 Questions For Leaders

12 Questions – Are You an Empowerment Enabler?
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3. Have you hired anyone who is stronger than you as a leader?

4. Would you let your team handle Severity 1 situations including regular reporting to your boss, your boss’ boss and key clients without your intervention?

5. Have you recommended anyone on your team to be promoted to your level?

6. What is the level of your directs’ budget authority?

A corollary: Do they understand your organization’s financials and actively decide together on how to meet their own organization’s and your overarching organization’s financial goals?

7. Have you asked and allowed your directs to run your organization’s All Hands meeting?

8. Would you feel comfortable if your directs determined your org chart?

9. Do you enforce rules more or values more?

10. Do you share issues with your people or do you protect them from those challenges?

11. If your people were asked to rate you on how you’ve empowered them, what would they say?

12. Do you feel empowered yourself?

Empowerment Needs to be Nurtured and Modeled by YOU.

If you feel some unease as you answer these 12 questions, that’s an indication you need to get started.

Go ahead.  Begin.  Take a step …

#TakeThisMoment to create an empowerment moment for someone or even for yourself. ~ Jackie Yun


There's Power in Empowerment

Empower Someone Today!
Image courtesy of hin255 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Please share that empowerment moment in the comments.  Your momentum will inspire other leaders.

Stuck about how to start?  You can begin by sharing these 12 questions with your team as a discussion prompt and for their self-reflection.  Ask them to #TakeThisMoment to create an empowerment moment — and then another and another and another.

Finding more questions to ask? Love to hear them.  Let’s keep the list growing in the comments.

6 responses to Empowerment Works, If You Work It

  1. Loved your post, Jackie and really enjoyed your suggestions about how to make empowerment come alive for leaders!

    I thought your idea of hiring someone stronger than you was an outstanding idea and I would add that when we surround ourselves with the best talent, we will be a more influential leader as well.

    Empowering ourselves and empowering others is essential for successful leadership.


    • Hello Terri,

      Empowerment takes many forms — your suggestions of who we network with and the impact of our influence are definitely on the list.

      I’d like to point others to your post, “How Leaders Help Others Find Their Genius” and add your key question to the 12 Questions above — “When was the last time you purposely tried to discover the gifts or genius in your co-workers, team members or people you come into contact with daily?”. The answer would be revealing!

      Thank you for providing your perspectives on empowerment and for keeping the conversation going!


  2. Jackie, loved your 12 sets of questions. They are meaningful and makes you think.

    My favorite is hiring someone stronger than yourself and what do others think about you empowering them.

    Enjoyed your post. Empowerment to oneself and others is important and can never be underestimated.

    • Hi Lalita,

      Thought you might enjoy this quote.

      The other day, I re-tweeted @JolieBStudios and @anitabondi’s tweet: “…Help them become what they are capable of being ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe”.

      I see it as a call-to-action that we, as leaders, need to take on and incorporate into our daily activities.

      Many thanks for your interaction and support!


  3. Jackie, I love this post and I find the relevance and importance of empowerment not just in the office but also at home with one’s children.

    I think empowering our children is an important concept… by our enabling them to make as many decisions as they can when they are young, they may feel empowered to tackle whatever it is that comes across their way.

    They learn the process of what to consider when making a decision, whether sometimes it is worthwhile to consult with others and they learn how to deal with both success and failure including how to pick themselves up again when needed. All of these skills will only help them when they become adults 🙂

    • Dorlee,

      Agreeing with you wholeheartedly!

      Purposefully teaching empowerment to children is so foundational —- just imagine all that we can do if empowerment is part of our DNA!

      And to pay it forward, we can then take on the role as empowerment teachers, mentors and enablers, as we journey through career and life.

      Appreciate your insight. I always enjoy our exchange of ideas!


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