When you empower people, you give your influence to them for the purpose of personal and organizational growth. Successful leaders empower others by delegating power and sharing their influence, position, and power with others.
If you are burnt out, stressed, and tired, you are probably not delegating authority and empowering other people to take charge; you are insecure and afraid of someone taking your job.
Besides helping you as a leader to work with and through people, empowering and investing in people can help them reach their potential.
No matter how much work you can do, no matter how engaging your personality may be, you will not advance far in business if you cannot work through others — John Craig
When you decide to empower people, Leadership guru John C. Maxwell said “your goal, in the beginning, should be to hand over relatively small, simple tasks to the people you wish to empower and progressively increase the responsibility and authority.
How do you empower people and extend your influence?
1. Evaluate the people you want to empower
If you give inexperienced people too much authority too soon, you might be setting them up to fail. If you move too slowly with people who have lots of experience, you can frustrate them. Your job as a leader is to find out what they lack and help them develop it.
2. Model for the people you are working to empower
Besides evaluating the people you want to empower, you have to also model the attitude, work ethic, and character you like them to embrace. People do what people see. So, take them along with you and include them in your work.
3. Give permission to the people you are working to empower
Believe in the people you want to empower, help them to believe in themselves, and show them that you want them to succeed. Let them know you are expecting them to succeed and tell them often that you are confident they are going to make it.
4. Transfer authority to the people you are working to empower
Also, you want to share your workload and authority. Sharing your workload is delegation, sharing your power and authority is empowerment. Give them the opportunity to make decisions, initiate actions, and solve problems.
When you transfer authority to people, publicly recognize them to let them know you believe that they will succeed. Public recognition also let others know you are backing them up with your authority.
6. Give feedback to the people you are working to empower
While it’s laudable to publicly recognize and praise the people you are empowering, don’t neglect to privately coach them through their mistakes and misjudgments.
7. Release the people you are working to empower to continue on their own
- When President Abraham Lincoln appointed General Ulysses S.Grant as commander of the Union armies in 1864, he sent him this message: “I neither ask nor desire to know anything of your plans. Take the responsibility to and act, and call on me for assistance.”
Your ultimate goal is to release the people you are empowering to make good decisions and succeed on their own.
Excerpt from John C. Maxwell’s Book: Leadership 101: What Every Leader Needs To Know.