Empower

Throughout the years I’ve realized that to empower others is extremely important. Definitely a lesson I learned well into my leadership career.

One thing I learned a long time ago probably by way of examples was to take full on control of a situation, own it, make it your own, begin to build it and the rest kind of falls into place.

In the beginning of my leadership career I felt I knew most of everything I needed to know. How funny huh…

Although always confident and willing to take the hits, I’ve remained very open about the idea that I am always open to learn. That was a really good thing because to my surprise I had and still have a lot to learn.

I have a huge thirst and focus for leadership insights, for the more I learn, the better I can serve everyone I come in contact with.

Today I was pondering one of those insights I learned from a friend and past boss of mine;

“Sometimes you just have to build your own team”. TA

Are you kidding me? All these years preaching low turnover and now you’re telling me I Should turnover a huge piece of the staff? As usual I sat back and tried to make sense of it all rather than react with all the emotion and frustration that led me nowhere good when I was much younger.

Then I remembered his mentor once telling me that the unit he was placing me (different unit) had the lowest turnover in his region and it wasn’t a good thing. Ahh ok I see.

So I sat down the leadership staff of my new unit and empowered them to choose one person to “go” (hypothetically) in order to make this unit better. This approach took them by surprise, as to myself too I have to admit.

However, they all seemed to have one common denominator. First chance I got I went to write the person up and not to my surprise, the person had an array of write ups, so we parted ways.

From then on it was very different. I still had to create my own team and part ways with many folks. But one thing stood out, the leadership team was all in and worked tirelessly to make us better.

This I believe happened from that initial empowerment move. To empower is sometimes if not most of the time overlooked.

On my run last week I was listening to Jocko’s podcast and he was speaking about getting feedback from his team and to an extent empowering his team (Navy SEALS) to create the strategic plans while he lent his input and knowledge. He claimed that when it was their plan they executed better.

Again I had to step back and really listen to this idea. It rang true. If I’m following someone else’s plan I can blame the planner for the failed or foiled plan. But if it’s my plan, I’m working harder to get a successful result out of it.

With all this said, I still believe in controlling the situation and to certain extent micromanaging. To a huge extent micromanaging is supposed to be temporarily until you build your team of empowered leaders whom you can lead, mentor, develop and inspire rather than micromanage.

Micromanaging in the beginning helps get to an acceptable performance level until the team is built but it isn’t a long-term fix or method.

I’ve failed by micromanaging others. I’ve failed by doing so too long. I’ve failed by not doing it at all. But I’ve learned.

Sometimes we have to build our team and emPower them.

Sometimes we have to Believe that they’ll execute better if we allow them to create the strategical plan while we give input.

Sometimes we just need to get out the way, our own way.

Stay in the Fight

3 thoughts on “Empower

Add yours

  1. Excellent post. I agree that maximizing the workforce’s empowerment is what we should strive to do as leaders. The trick is determining when, who, to what degree and how much control to give up in the process of discovery empowerment. Most people want to feel that there more than pawns ona board. They want to feel that you count on them and trust them with the mission.
    This has been an important element of leadership in organization for me for a long time.
    Lately, I’ve been looking at a similar element of leadership from a slightly different perspective. That is, rather than emPower (to give power), thinking of it as what can we do as leaders to awaken the latent power within our team. In other words, rather than give them some of your power, helping them find their own power to take on more, to influence more, to play a bigger role, etc

    Liked by 1 person

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