Empowerment – like leadership – starts with your personal character.[box]
“One of the reasons leaders need courage and character is that sacrifice is often a crucial part of leadership.”
– John Maxwell[/box]
There’s an old adage, “Take care of your people, or they will take care of you.” The concept of servant leadership is built on this principle: That the best leaders are those who place the needs of their team above their own.
This approach may, at first, seem counterintuitive or contrary to the “hard-charging” and often self-centered approach that’s a requirement in a challenging corporate environment or MBA program. Effective leaders cultivate an atmosphere of accomplishment and achievement, not only for themselves, but for their team members.
Leaders achieve by EMPOWERING their teams. Essentially: your success depends on the success of others. If you want to go beyond encouragement, you’ve got to understand how to create opportunity for the people around you.[box]
“Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him and to let him know that you trust him.”
– Booker T. Washington[/box]
EMPOWERMENT is demonstrated in three key ways:
- Providing encouragement for your team – helping them to know that they can do what needs to be done, and keeping them motivated
- Providing the tools needed to do the job – because a bucket full of enthusiasm doesn’t mean much, if your people don’t have what they need to perform
- Providing clear measurement – accountability is the key to effective results, and letting your team know when they win.
Clarity of vision is your utmost contribution; then, you must follow your message with the tools that allow people to succeed. Communicate your expectations through your character, guide and correct through effective feedback, and inspire by example.