The 10 Commandments of Empowerment
Top-down empowerment programs reflect the reason they’re needed in the first place. Disconnected leaders develop ineffective empowerment programs in secluded conference rooms.
There’s no power left for others when control is concentrated in top leadership.
You can’t control people and give them power at the same time.
Empowerment is making people feel powerful.
Empowerment begins when you give control to capable others.
Disempower: to take away someone’s confidence and feeling of being in control of their life.
Empower: to encourage and support the ability to do something.
The 10 commandments of empowerment:
- Thou shalt not give quick answers. People won’t contribute their insights to a boss’s ‘brilliant’ ideas.
- Thou shalt not establish policies and procedures for everyone when only one person screws up. Rules and regulations are symptoms of distrust. You can’t give power to someone you don’t trust.
- Thou shalt not tell capable people how to do their jobs.
- Thou shalt affirm more than complain by a ratio of 3:1. If you want insecure teams, complain more than commend.
- Thou shalt notice people. Distance and disconnection say people don’t matter. Connection is assurance. Assurance is confidence. Tip: thou shalt say good morning.
- Thou shalt remember that connecting isn’t meddling.
- Thou shalt laugh at thy own mistakes. Your response to mistakes creates environments of fear or confidence.
- Thou shalt explain what’s important. Priorities concentrate and magnify power. Ambiguity dilutes power and devalues energy.
- Thou shalt walk-about at least once a day.
- Thou shalt maintain curiosity.
- Lack initiative.
- Feel discouraged.
- Save their best energy for situations where they matter.
- Blame you for their misery. Weak people need scapegoats.
Empowerment is freedom.
Create an environment that honors power in others.
Great power is achieved by giving control to capable others.
Which of the 10 commandments is most relevant to you?
When do you feel most empowered?
Symptoms of Empowerment (New Mexico State University)
6 Ways to Empower People to be their Best (Inc)
10 Tips to Empower your Staff (Business)
C7 v. DP3: ‘Splain me the difference ‘tween empowering & enabling … what is the threshold distinction?
Between freedom and license is influence, the true nature of power … for good or ill.
Why should I trust you rather than just use you? How will you use me in return?
Give me guidance, not control. Give me space, within certain explicit limits, and let me earn it (trust and power). That’s all I ask.
Empowerment is two way/mutual sharing to do what they should;
enablement is a one way ticket for the Other to do what they want.
Whoops … that was C8 ilo C7 … explain, not laugh … hahaha!
Thanks for parsing empowerment and enablement. “Give me guidance, not control,” seems a way to satisfy our need to be involved with others, without micro-managing. Helpful.
“Empowerment is making people feel powerful.”
It’s more than making the feel powerful. It’s giving them the power to decide on their own how to get the job done.
You may tell or discuss with the employee “what” need to be done but the “how to do” it is left up to them.
Thanks Paul. So, we ‘make’ people feel powerful by giving them authority to make decisions. Every time someone makes a choice they exercise and perhaps enhance their power.
8. Thou shalt explain what’s important. Priorities concentrate and magnify power. Ambiguity dilutes power and devalues energy. That works for me the most, we need to be clear what the “Doers” need to do, although “how to” needs clarified at times to meet customer expectations.
There always is the little turn in the road.
Thanks Tim. It’s frustrating when we want to do well, but don’t have enough clarity to do it.
I think for me Thou shalt not establish policies and procedures for everyone when only one person screws up. Rules & regulations are symptom of distrust!!!!!
Thanks Frew. Yes, and symptoms of being unwilling to deal directly with an issue. It’s feels easier to talk to the whole team than to talk to one person about an issue.
Sorry, Dan, but I really think we need to get over this idea that anyone can empower anyone. While there are a lot of environmental things that ARE un-empowering, the thought that I can do something to somebody to change their choices is low. If you want to test this, go ahead and empower me to do something — how would someone do that?
People CHOOSE to be un-empowered. Lots of things contribute to that choice but it is THEIR choice. You cannot force “freedom” on them. But you CAN remove their actual and perceived roadblocks to acting more free.
What we CAN do is work to eliminate or minimize or somehow affect those external factors which drive un-empowerment and then support an individual to make different choices. You can change their perceptions of their realities.
We cannot empower someone.
We CAN work on DIS-un-empowerment, though.
Rule 2 is never, ever obeyed in regulated areas. Here, rules, policies, SOPs, guidelines, Guidelines (different from the former!), regulations and implementation guides stifle creativity, individuality, initiative and empowerment, because those things are NOT your friend when slavish obedience to “the rules” is what matters.
Power is an illusion, more so in the workplace. If most people realized what they could really do with their lives we would all manifest a new reality within 24 hours.
There is a misleading reason why the following has been seared into our brains: “Graduate high school, go to college and graduate and get a good job…you’ll be set for the rest of your life because you are making money.”
Many a person has followed the above advice and found themselves unhappy and miserable with their lives. Money is a man-made concept. Money is not a real thing.