The New Face of Empowerment
Power is a funny thing.
I remember working with a client in the 1990’s to discuss what appeared to be a breakthrough leadership concept. Somewhere between the need for better communication and more effective teamwork was the realization that decision-making should occur at the lowest levels of the organization. “We need to empower our workers.” Seemed like a novel thought at the time. Take power from senior leadership and give it bite-sized pieces to people up and down the organization. Empower groups, empower individuals and they will make better, timely, more efficient decisions with better results.
Today, thank goodness, we are more savvy about empowerment and its value. When people feel empowered to do good work, they are more engaged. This creates a reinforcing loop with the potential of producing not only better results, but also more results. Not only more results, but also more engagement. Not only more engagement, but also more commitment to do meaningful work. Meaningful, productive work. Pretty cool.
But wait. There’s more. What if empowerment is not something that is given or taken? What if it’s there and each person has to find it, to tune into it. What if it’s not waiting for permission, but stepping into situations where no one is in charge. There are millions of these each day on the job. Take your pick.
When you approach empowerment as a condition that exists in all situations, it is liberating. You just have to find it. This extends far beyond the day-to-day dropped balls and endless, unproductive meetings. It’s about taking charge of your professional development, looking for those opportunities to grow and shine because you found them, not because the organization or someone else gave them to you.
If you still think you need permission, well here you go. You have permission. Now let’s go make the world a better place. There’s a lot we have to do.