I am privileged to lead a monthly small group in our community which pulls business leaders together to discuss leadership principles and how they apply to our current situations. This last week our topic was on the concept of Empowerment. While thinking about this topic throughout the week, I have come to believe that Empowerment encompasses three elements, which I will call the BEE Method of Empowerment.
Empowerment always begins with Believing in someone first. One could argue that it is impossible to empower another leader unless first you believe in them as an individual. Empowerment begins with Belief in. When someone believes in us, it sets wind to our sails and frees us to know that our value is not in proving our worth, but in making progress.
Unfortunately, many leaders are convinced that believing in someone is all that is required to empowering an individual. Nothing is more frustrating in life than having someone believe in you as an individual, yet feeling as though you do not have the proper tools or knowledge needed to accomplish the task set before you. I may be a very skilled writer, but if I am never given a computer with word processing capabilities, the fact that you believe in my writing abilities means nothing. We all have natural talents…. the difference between those who achieve and those who don’t is found in those who believe in their talents and are equipped to use the talents for the betterment of all. This is why the second stage of empowering someone is to EQUIP them. I see someone with potential that I want to Empower, so I 1) Believe in them, 2) Equip them.
The last part of empowering someone can be difficult for the leader that has pride issues. The completion of Empowering someone comes when you Believe in them, you Equip them and then finally you Endorse them. Leadership is influence and influence comes through permission. When a Leader Endorses someone they are moving their belief into action by giving the one whom they have equipped permission to influence others. The reason this is difficult on the prideful leader is because once an endorsement is made it reflects on our character. Yet, I have come to realize that it is impossible to create a culture of empowerment without being willing to put your character on the line every once in a while.
“BEE” Empowering – 1. Believe In 2. Equip 3. Endorse