Leadership is not about a position or title. Leadership is not about taking over a team and dictating what needs to be accomplished. Leadership is not about lecturing others to make sure our ideas are selected for a solution. Leadership is not about being the loudest or smartest in the room.
So what is leadership all about?
Leadership is all about becoming empowered and helping others become empowered. It is about creating cultures of empowerment within organizations and teams. When we feel empowered we can lead with confidence and compassion. We can impact our worlds of work in meaningful and purposeful ways.
Here are five tactics to becoming an empowered leader:
1. DEFINE EMPOWERMENT FOR YOU
Sometimes the word “empowerment” is thrown around without a true understanding of what it means. Here is a quick definition of empowerment:
“The process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights.”
Each of us must feel we have a certain amount of control in our workplaces so that we are able to share our suggestions and make decisions that matter to us. When we lose that freedom or feel that it is being taken away, we often lose interest and become disengaged.
Decide what it would look like for you to feel empowered and in control in your job. That is the first step in becoming an empowered leader.
2. CONTROL WITH ACCOUNTABILITY
With choice comes responsibility. If we want to have control in our leadership, we also must hold ourselves accountable. To become an empowered leader:
- Follow through on what we say we will do
- Speak up and own our words with confidence
- Take on new responsibilities with care and professionalism
- Be inclusive with team members
3. HELP COLLEAGUES SEE THEIR BEST ROUTE
An empowered leader helps co-workers, teammates and collaborators see their unique value and strengths. They listen to the concerns of their team. They open doors for others to grow and network as well as give people credit for jobs they did well. The goal for an empowered leader is to have everyone around them feel empowered too.
4. PREPARE FOR ROADBLOCKS
Empowered leaders are ready for obstacles that may come across their path by keeping themselves “up to speed” with what is happening and remaining open to different perspectives. They stay armed and ready by:
- Sharing information freely to everyone involved
- Offering honest and action-oriented feedback
- Keeping positive
- Thinking ahead about possible challenges and what could go wrong
5. PASS IT ON
We can build cultures of empowerment if we have trust and transparency in our workplaces. When we become empowered leaders we are able to form strong collaborations and deeper work relationships that elevate our team’s performance. When we become empowered leaders we see the gifts in others and encourage them to share their unique talents. When we become empowered leaders we are confident in our decisions and respectful of the opinions of others. That is what leadership is about.
How have you become an empowered leader? How has empowerment helped your team or organization grow?