Saturday, July 07, 2007

empowerment

I woke up a little bit ago and was having a hard time going back to sleep. I decided to read another chapter in Leadership 101. It was about empowerment. I thought this would be a boring enough chapter that I might get sleepy and be able to roll over and fall asleep easily after reading it. The opposite happened. This is very exciting.

Maxwell writes,
When you become an empowerer, you work with and through people, but you do much more. You enable others to readh the highest levels in their personal and professional development. Simply defined, empowering is giving your influence to the for the purpose of personal and organizational growth. It's sharing yourself - your influence, position, power, and opportunities - with others for the purpose of investing in their lives so that they can function at their best. It's seeing people's potential, and showing them that you believe in them completely (p.77).
He gives these questions to help evaluate our own attitude toward empowering others:
1. Do I believe in people and feel that they are my organization's most appreciable asset?
2. Do I believe that empowering others can accomplish more than individual achievement?
3. Do I actively search for potential leaders to empower?
4. Would I be willing to raise others to a level higher than my own level of leadership?
5. Would I be willing to invest time developing people who have leadership potential?
6. Would I be willing to let others get credit for what I taught them?
7. Do I allow others freedom of personality and process, or do I have to be in control?
8. Would I be willing to publicly give my authority and influence to potential leaders?
9. Would I be willing to let others work me out of a job?
10. Would I be willing to hand the leadership baton to the people I empower and truly root for them?

If your answer is no to more than a couple of these questions, you may need an attitude adjustment. You need to believe in others enough to give them all you can and in yourself enough to know that it won't hurt you. Just remember that as long as you continue to grow and develop yourself, you'll always have something to give, and you won't need to worry about being displaced. (pp.82-83)
Further, Maxwell explains,
Author and professional speaker Danny Cox advised, "The important thing to remember is that if you don't have the inspired enthusiasm that is contagious - whatever you do have is also contagious." People can sense your underlying attitude no matter what you say or do. If you have an expectation for your people to be successful, they will know it...

Once people recognize and understand that you genuinely want to see them succeed and are committed to helping them, they will begin to believe that they can accomplish what you give them to do. (p.85)
In conclustion, Maxwell encourages us to empower, saying,
If you head up any kind of organization - a business, club, church, or family - learning to empower others is one of the most important things you'll ever do as its leader. Empowerment has an incredibly high return. It not only helps the individuals you raise up by making them more confident, energetic, and productive, but it also has the ability to improve your life, give you additional freedom, and promote the growth and health of your organization. (p.88)
Now I'm going back to bed.

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