Those, who cannot empower their team, sub-ordinates or juniors, do not deserve to hold power, whether in companies, communities, countries or even in their personal lives! Power corrupts, when concentrated!! Power becomes a poison, when one revolves around power and does not devolve it to concerned people or participants.
What do people do, when they have power?
If you are putting your power to good or right use, what would you do? You would not believe in asserting it, as your senses would suggest to you that people around you understand your power. If you have your own vision, imagination or ideas, you would take pains to make people aware of the same. You would cajole or coax them to be part of a team to help accomplish those. But you would never coerce them to do it, as that would tantamount to misuse of power! You would not command or demand either; instead you would motivate them and show the way to do it! If they succeed, you would speak well of them; but you would not like to fire, if they fail! What do these actions amount to? It is Empowerment!
On other hand, if you misuse your power, you would become autocratic; you would dictate or impose your ideas. You would go by your whims, likes and dislikes. You would be tempted to play politics. You would hold the hands of whom you like, regardless of merit. You may be able to produce results by forcing your team to perform; but that performance would not last for long. You would take credit by discrediting others!
Remember, in most organizations or institutions, power is misused in the name of leadership, albeit very subtly! There are only 10 to 15% of organizations in industrial sector, where management indeed puts power to correct use and that is one of the key reasons, responsible for their excellent performance. So, right use of power can only reside in empowerment!
Empowerment has enviable virtues and enormous power; yet very few actually understand those in corporate circles or public platforms. Therefore, it is more used as a jargon and given lip service by most bosses.
Let us first understand essence of empowerment.
Essential elements of empowerment
It is most critical to put clear and complete trust on people to be empowered.
Only through respect, you can motivate the people and induce ownership in them.
Without freedom to operate and take routine decisions, empowerment would be a fiasco.
- Laying down explicit expectations and goals
Most leaders and management miss on this, sending empowerment for a toss.
- Giving credit and withholding discredit
If empowered team delivers good result, head or boss must give them due credit. But, if team fails, head or boss must abstain from decrying or discrediting the team. Instead he/she should initiate corrective and improvement actions.
Appropriate training for people is a prerequisite, so that they understand how to perform and deliver.
Regular coaching by supervisors or seniors is necessary to keep people on course to produce the expected results.
If you carefully evaluate above 7 elements, you would conclude that these are imperatives for any leader or boss to be successful.
One, who empowers, excels!
Leader, who swears by empowerment, stands to gain terrific advantages:
- Effective and efficient management
- Transparency and consistency in organization’s performance
- Loyalty and infallible commitment of team members
- Availability of adequate time to plan and strategize business and its healthy growth
- Ease in driving and managing changes
- Develops consciousness and selflessness
One, who is empowered, enjoys!
Those, who are empowered, reap rich rewards in terms of:
- High degree of job satisfaction and personal accomplishment
- Sense of pride at work place
- High level of ownership and stewardship
- Talent/competency development
- Clear career path and bright prospects to grow
- Inculcating initiative, ethics and team spirit
A power pack mandate
Above gives a clear mandate – those, who are not committed by choice to use their power to empower employees or people down the line, should not qualify for getting power at first very place. If you find ills in private or public organizations, chief culprit is holding the power (which, in fact, is a misuse) to the chest by who are given power. Manipulation, malice, malpractices, poor performance, lack of talent development and failed business strategies emanate from concentrating power by those at the helm. It also gives rise to arrogance and ego, which organizations can ill afford!
If organizations have to be managed in a clean, credible and charismatic manner, “commitment to empowerment” should be made an essential prerequisite to select or promote anyone to the position of power, supervision or management. If this is done, then power of one pair of hands would multiply by number of pairs of hands empowered! Imagine the formidable energy, your company would have then, which can indeed help make it iconic and imaginative!
How about implementing this inference in full earnest and essence?