In order to grow your business, you may need to empower your team, because there comes a point when there just isn’t enough time to do everything. The consequence is that your power is stretched to the limit, which impacts on your performance, your judgement and, more importantly, on your wellbeing.
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln
Empowerment is something someone gives you. It is how you choose to use that power that is important. There needs to be understanding of what is meant by power, as this can be confused with force.
Power is the means of influencing the thoughts and actions of others. It makes no demands; it has no needs. It energises, gives forth, supplies and supports. It builds engagement in the team
Power will uplift, dignify and ennoble. It comes from a belief that all persons are created equal and human rights are intrinsic to human creation. It is associated with compassion and helping people feel good about themselves. This is what gives great leaders their success.
The higher up the organisation you are the more power and influence you have. This is position power. Some business leaders do not fully utilise this power; hiding their light under a bush! There are other forms of power.
- Knowledge power comes from being an expert in your specialism, whereas
- Task power comes from the competence to do the job.
- Relationship power is about building trust and rapport and
- Personal power comes through your charisma, personality or character.
Whether you have all or some of these powers, it is important to recognise and celebrate the power that you have in any situation and use it to good effect.
Often there is a fear that you are giving away power if you empower others. This is assuming power is limited and used up; like electricity. When you delegate you give someone more power (empower) them. That does not mean you lose any of your power. In this way, you increase the power within the business and speed up decision making.
When under pressure we may turn to force to get the job done. The difference between power and force is between influencing for the greater good and manipulating for a hidden agenda. Force must always be justified, whereas power requires no justification.
Force is crass and partial. It is associated with judgement and makes people feel bad about themselves. With any force, there is always counter-force. Force is a movement that goes from here to there (or tries to) against opposition, so it creates conflict. It is incomplete and has to be fed energy constantly, so its use can drain you.
Empower Your Team by:
- Improving your own points of power and playing to your strengths, whilst recognising others’
- Reducing aspects of force, e.g. over regulation, bullying or politics
- Delegating effectively work you cannot do yourself or someone can do better