Getting much more from your people by using Empowerment as a tactic, can make a big difference to your business.

What’s more, it’s of no doubt that ‘giving permission’ to your people, to carry on without the need to check back with you every five minutes, makes your life so much easier.

You see, by empowering your people, they grow and develop and take more of the
‘stuff’ in your business on.

And become great assets to you.

Freeing you up to do bigger things – and not all the ‘doing’ things in your business.

“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and
they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”

General George Patton

“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders
will be those who empower others.”

Bill Gates

Top Ten Things About Empowerment

What we have here is an enormous Win-Win opportunity, where everyone benefits. Empowerment comes from a culture; a way of being in your organisation.

Think about it. You may have to work at it a little, but in essence, it is how you behave that dictates just how Empowerment is ‘just the way we do things around here’.

But wait, there’s more – you can’t force this, like ‘we’re doing Empowerment today’ – it doesn’t work like that at all.

The best at Empowerment

  1. Let Go
    They realise that part of developing others is about them. That they, themselves have to learn to stand back and let go of some of the things in their day.
  2. Recognise Potential
    A big part of Empowerment is having the ability to notice hidden capability and then extrapolate that to the business context.
  3. Converse Well
    They are able to get into their people really well. This builds trust strongly so that when they do support growth in individuals, their encouragement is trusted.
  4. Challenge
    And they are able to nudge, cajole, enthuse about moving up a gear, going to the next level. They push gently when they know there is potential and they have such a relationship that their people go with them.
  5. Are Generous
    In Empowerment, it has to come with some safety features. Here’s why. It’s a scary place to step up, to show your head above the parapet. In life, with the wrong sort of parent; teacher; boss etc., you get hit full-on with blame and consequent feelings of failure fail. When you are good at this, review and learning is the worst case scenario. That’s all – and that feels so good!
  6. Support Development
    To get the best from Empowerment it has to be growth focused. Individuals need to experience and learn. So the best at it spend time working closely with their people to lift their performance to a higher level. Generosity is the time, the experience, the mentoring that the very best share with pleasure.
  7. Praise Success
    And there is nothing more empowering than reinforcing the performance with an endorsement of people. It’s true! We all love to be recognised for having done a job well. So when we are – we come back for more. This is very powerful indeed.
  8. Allow Space
    They give their people space to think. Space to process their ideas and to work out the ‘how’ of the task or project. Best of all, this takes the pressure off the very best in the field. They have one less thing to think about. People realise their potential and the business wins too.
  9. Find Projects
    The sharper ’empowerers’ are always on the lookout for things to stretch their ‘candidates’ for. They develop a break in their thought patterns which says, ‘I wonder who might benefit from this experience‘. Terrific!
  10. Plan Ahead
    And to set themselves up, they have done the work, they have a plan in mind – flexible mind you – as to where they are going with their people. So as opportunity presents itself, their people fit.

Ten Ways to be Better at Empowerment

  1. Assess your Activity
    Stop doing some things. Let them go. Test yourself, for those things that are ‘nice to do’ rather than important. Switch others on and let them add their own value.
  2. Lose Assumptions
    Step back from any limiting beliefs you might have over some of your people. Step back and get very objective about potential and exhibited abilities. An assumption of poor performance might be more about you than anyone else.
  3. Consider Others
    And with that, think deeply about others, get to know them much, much better. What are they good at – give them the opportunity to do more. What might they be good at – give them some scope.
  4. Say Thank You
    You will find that Empowerment builds when you say ‘Thank You’ even on it’s own! Say it often to people, with sincerity and avoid being patronising. In the whole of this web-site, this will do more than any other act!.
  5. Give Praise
    And building on ‘Thank You’, give praise in as many other ways you can. Make sure it’s consistent, fairly distributed and relevant.
  6. Review Regularly
    By ensuring that you review performance regularly, you make waypoints for people to work towards. Here’s why this works…if you’re doing something new, delegated, say, by your boss, it’s scary stuff for some people. So touching base gives you a timescale you can aim for – and that is very comforting. So make time for them.
  7. Use the Feedback Model
    Empowerment is about endorsing people, in the moment. It’s about letting them know how they are doing. So to use the Feedback model, they give themselves the good and the different first, then you. This is hugely helpful for them. They learn from themselves first.
  8. Be Honest and Fair
    By being ‘real’ with them, they will learn to trust you more. Empowerment comes from trusting you and if you are not honest and true, this will show. By being fair, you judge carefully what is realistic in your expectations and what isn’t. Why does this work? Because trust is all.
  9. Never Find Fault
    OK, so sometimes things don’t quite go to plan. The key here is to generate value in the learning so that, given a fair wind next time things will be much, much better. Hint? Successful outcome = 100%. Not completely successful outcome = 80%. Make the 20% difference up with the learning = 100%!
  10. Keep Going
    And this is therefore an upward spiral of success. Once you have Empowerment working for you your people will want more; you will want more. Get clear about accountability and responsibility. You are usually ‘accountable’ for delivery in your business; your people are ‘responsible’ for delivery. The buck stops with you not  them – remember that.

5 Simple Actions You Can Take Today!

  • Decide to stop doing 5 regular tasks this very day! Delegate them to your people using the ideas above.
  • Get aware of potential in your team right now. Who has more ability? Who wants to do more and has some capability. Let go!
  • Get started right away with your thanking and praising. Try 5 times for each today and ongoing.
  • If you are in a bigger organisation, you can involve others in your thinking about what place Empowerment plays in the business. Learn together – share the process.
  • And don’t stop – with each success (that you have praised them for, haven’t you!), ask your people what they want next – what is their next step. Maintain, even accelerate momentum.

There are quite a few great books out there – these are just a few of our favourites:-

“Who Moved My Cheese” – Spencer Johnson
“Please Don’t Just Do What I Tell You: Do What Needs to Be Done” – Ken Blanchard and Bob Nelson
“Zapp! The Lightning of Empowerment” – Byham & Cox
“Empowerment Takes More Than a Minute” – Blanchard, Carlos and Randolph
“The 3 Keys to Empowerment: Release the Power Within People for Astonishing Results” – Blanchard, Carlos and Randolph
“The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey” – Ken Blanchard