Empower Me!

Empower Me! – By Arnie Wohlgemut

One of the four key leadership principles I believe are essential for success in leading people is the ability to empower them.  Whether staff performs in the top 20% or in the middle 60%, they will all appreciate being empowered.

Delegation is NOT empowerment.  Not even close.

Delegation is a transaction based on need.  We delegate a task, maybe even authority, to make a decision while on vacation.

Most often delegation is based on seniority.  It almost always has some performance parameters.  Often we articulate clear responsibilities and actions needed when we delegate.  I have often delegated tasks to staff because they could do it better and faster than I could.

But that is not empowerment.

First, consider this: empowerment is an expression of love.  (Yup, I’m talking about love in a leadership blog.)  I’m not talking about a sensual or sexual type of love.

This is a love for the person.  You love what they do for you and for your organization.

You’ve spent time with them.  You understand each other.  You see potential in them and are willing to help them grow through this experience.

They understand the vision, the hopes and the expectations you have for them.

Secondly, empowerment is a reflection of your self-awareness.

I’m the type of person who loves to lead.  A take charge type of guy.  I learned the hard way that I can’t do everything.  I’ve often said the world doesn’t need another Arnie or an Arnie clone (those who know me say it’s a scary thought).

The world needs people who can capture the spark and make something of it while I get out of the way.  I learned that I can love and respect a person enough to complete the project or assignment in their own way.

I learned to be self-aware and know when to get out of the way.

Yes, the way someone else accomplishes a goal may look different from they way I would do it.  The path to the goal may take a whole new route but if it is an effective outcome, who cares?

If I truly value them, value what they do for me, I need to set my ego aside.

I’ve never heard someone boast about having responsibility delegated to them.

I’ve heard people boast about a project or assignment they completed with full authority and support from their boss.

Wouldn’t you want your name attached to that?