In my years of working with people, I’ve seen how the empowerment process involves a slow release of control but not abandonment. In helping people become stronger and more confident, there’s a process of walking with them. It’s not very honoring to have a role, a job, a title dumped in your lap, leaving you to figure it all out. On the contrary, it’s also not honoring to be micro-managed every step of the way. Neither one of those are empowering. Instead, I think it’s kind of like driving a manual. When you’re in first, if you don’t give it any gas or not enough, the car dies. If you give it too much, you lurch forward rather quickly. Neither are pleasant. Instead, you want to maintain a good tension of pressing down on the gas while easing your foot off the clutch. The right tension ensures a great result.
If you want to be empowering, you have to engage the tension and be willing to walk with people and then let go when the time is right.
I originally started this post back in April. Everything in life is a journey, right? Well, from writing this post to empowering others to lead has definitely been a journey of learning and growing.
Several years ago, I realized that I have a passion for empowering leaders. The definition of empowerment is twofold…1. Authority or power given to someone to do something and 2. The process of becoming stronger and more confident. This past year has been marked with an intense journey of learning to empower others to lead as we left South Africa (which by the way, they are doing an incredible job and the process has been nothing short of sweet). I’ve made mistakes along the way, but I’ve also learned so much. The learning process has been so life giving, so I want to take a few posts to share some of my thoughts and learnings. The most important being…
People have to want to be empowered. I’ve worked with many people over the years, and I’ve realized that not everyone wants empowerment. Naturally, we like the label of “leader,” but empowerment isn’t just the glorious title. It involves ownership. Ownership isn’t just taking the credit when something goes well. It also means personally owning when things go badly. That is not easy to do. It’s much easier to blame others which is what happens when ownership isn’t present. Look for those people who want to be empowered and have the courage to own their failures. If you spent your time and energy on trying to empower someone that isn’t interested, you will end up exhausted.