10 Ways to Make People Feel Powerful

You influence the way people feel about themselves. When you make people feel weak, they act in fear. When you make people feel powerful, they act with boldness.

Boldness takes you further than fear.

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3 ways to make people feel weak:

  1. Assume the worst.
  2. Express frustration with them.
  3. Ignore them.

10 ways to make people feel powerful:

  1. Allow people to influence you. It feels empowering to have influence with a leader.
    • Adapt to their ideas.
    • Seek feedback. How is it working when I …?
    • Seek feedforward. “The next time I lead a meeting, what do you suggest I do to get the team talking with each other?”
  2. Make everyone feel like an insider. Outsiders lose motivation. Insiders feel connected, respected, and powerful.
  3. Provide freedom with responsibility.
  4. Bring up poor performance with optimism. What you ignore is accepted. “I guess it doesn’t matter if I screw up.” What you accept becomes expected.
  5. Ask how they might challenge themselves.
  6. Give feedback based on observable behaviors.
  7. Explore success. What’s working?
  8. Be more personal than formal. Insiders speak freely with each other.
  9. Tell a short story. “I remember when….”
  10. Follow-up with conversations. “The other day we talked about…. How’s that going?”

7 Empowering vs. dis-empowering contrasts:

  1. What are you learning? vs. You did this wrong.
  2. What’s next? vs. Do this next.
  3. What are some options? vs. Here’s what you should do.
  4. Which alternative seems best to you? vs. This alternative seems best to me.
  5. What’s happening in your life? vs. Just get it done.
  6. What would you like to try? vs. Try this.
  7. I believe you have more in you. vs. It’s time for you to step up.

3 Empowering questions:

  1. What worked in the past?
  2. What are your hopes for yourself?
  3. How have your strengths served you in similar situations?

How might leaders make others feel powerful?

How have leaders made you feel powerful?

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