By Next Step Partners
Partner, Next Step Partners
Leaders who don’t have time to think are in trouble, as are their organizations. To make time, deciding not to do other things is one option. Otherwise, the time to think, and mental freedom, can come only from true empowerment.
It is not delegation—the transfer of discrete tasks. Delegation can give you time but not the mental detachment you need, because you are still in an owning-leading role. Empowerment is a deeper and more trusting sharing of authority that allows the leader to get back not just time but mental energy. It means letting others lead for you, not just do for you.
Some leaders delegate but call it empowerment, or they empower in an incomplete, halting form. Both are worse than nothing, because they feel like disempowerment. Instead of creating space for others to grow, disempowerment breeds confusion and distrust. In contrast, if leaders are clear, committed and trusting when empowering others, great benefits result. Everyone grows; everyone wins.
So empowerment is a persistent need but also a challenge. Let’s talk about how leaders can actually do it right.
What most leaders know intuitively is that the investment and risk are short-term. The benefits last. Empowerment builds trust and performance. When a manager says, “I am doing this now but you are fully capable of it” — that feedback counts, and it marks the beginning of a great development experience.
So, assuming you have the four ingredients above, what tactics enable empowerment? From the masters of empowerment, here are some simple tactics that work:
If you do it right, true empowerment is among the most profound leadership changes you can make. The best and bravest leaders empower because they know it serves the business, their people and themselves. Are you ready?