Empowerment --- A Vitamin for Growth.
By Dr. Rick Johnson
Saturday, 22nd October 2011
Allow employees to take risks and demonstrate initiative -

Empowerment is a trait used by most effective leaders, the rewards of empowering your employees are far greater than the risk.

Give them some independence in choosing their work schedules or other factors that won't affect overall objectives. Empowering employees allows them to use their own initiative and creativity to accomplish things you never imagined they could.

Employees must take ownership in the success of the organization. This means they must become part of the strategy employed by the company. Acknowledge their presence and contributions, and praise them at every opportunity. But, be sincere. Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, had a favorite method of sending personal handwritten notes to employees who demonstrated some form of success. The employee issue cannot be emphasized enough.


Winning organizations continuously build leaders at every level in their organization. Leaders who actively attempt to mentor and build other leaders gain respect throughout the organization and transfer knowledge, ideas, values and attitude about success. Empowerment is the primary tool of employee development.

Effective Leaders demonstrate these attributes:

  • A sense of urgency
  • An understanding of effective empowerment
  • Project and articulate the vision
  • Create stretch goals
  • Develop trust and a spirit of teamwork
  • Develop realistic expectations for success
  • Promote an environment of success, trust and belief
  • Honesty—to tell the truth—to do the right thing—no hidden agendas
  • Integrity and respect—responsive—recognizing employee value—empowerment
  • Passion - commitment
  • Motivate and inspire
Effective leaders must have an edge. They must be courageous enough to take risk and have an unrelenting readiness to act. Popularity is not a requirement, but the ability to generate respect from the employees is, without a doubt, one of the most critical attributes. They must be relentless in their efforts, unconcerned about personal sacrifice of their time, and willing to go beyond normal expectations.

Tough decisions are commonplace; uncharted territories will be the norm. Honesty and impeccable character are musts. Trust is illustrated through empowerment.

Complex Entities

Leadership is often described as the art of getting people to accomplish specific objectives. However, organizations are complex social entities with widely distributed responsibilities and assets. Unilateral action toward specific objectives is seldom sufficient in itself to create the kind of success expected for a company seeking growth and increased market share. 

Leadership is key to harmonizing diverse group interest into a focus-specific mode that supports the mechanics of execution. Those mechanics must include empowerment. The focus is on the way managers orchestrate activities and events and engage others in tasks, empowering them so that the desired results are realized. Action is key and is implicitly equated to professional leadership. This skill is subjective and often artistic. It varies with every situation and every individual.

Leadership skills can be enhanced and fine-tuned but a basic ingredient of humanistic understanding must exist to create a platform for leadership development.

Leaders Get Results

Leaders get results. They make things happen. They continually advance a clear agenda, get others to buy in and move the organization to accomplish specific objectives.  They are explicit, consistent, concise and sincere. They generally have an abundance of charisma although some leaders gain success with a quieter influence. Leaders take charge and are not afraid of responsibility or risk.

Most people want to follow them. A good leader develops openness, honesty, clarity of purpose and a sincere caring for the people they lead. They gain commitment and trust by demonstrating respect for the individual. They have a keen sense of understanding. They believe in their task, they understand the objectives, they communicate clearly and they honestly project the understanding that they need the efforts of everyone to succeed.

Leadership in Action

Successful leaders believe in principle and process. They take the time to listen, imagine and investigate numerous alternatives. With the others' involvement they forge creative solutions to difficult problems. They challenge their people to stretch, go beyond their previous boundaries and think outside the box.

Successful leaders feed off their employees and allow their employees to feed off of them. They give credit where credit is due. They give recognition and empower employees as a means of gaining respect. They believe individuals can make a difference. Through these methods, they learn to create new insights and possibilities. They insist upon best practice and a process that defines responsibilities, provides clarity and embraces accountability.

Successful leadership means creating a sense of urgency, getting mutual commitment to action through empowerment. Action steps are always clearly defined, precise and backed up by a commitment to the process necessary for execution.

They are clear and explicit. They communicate with encouraging clarity that commands ownership by everyone involved in the commitments made.

Rick Johnson, expert speaker, wholesale distribution's "Leadership Strategist", founder of CEO Strategist, LLC a firm that helps clients create and maintain competitive advantage. Need a speaker for your next event, E-mail rick@ceostrategist.com.  Don't forget to check out the Lead Wolf Series that can help you put more profit into your business.


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