Leadership Advance

Leadership Thoughts for Life Long Learners

Archive for the tag “cause and effect”

The “BEE” Method of Empowerment

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

Systems Are Like Domino’s

One of the things I used to enjoy as a kid was to take a pack of domino’s and stand them up one by one next to each other.  It would take painstaking time to organize everything just right, but if done correctly you could make some incredible shapes and intricate designs.  The creation of the domino trail was part of the fun, but the most exhilarating moment of all was when you would give one tiny push on the end domino piece and watch as one by one the rest of the domino’s would fall to the ground.  Each domino’s fall would impact the domino next to it and so on until the end result was every domino was on the ground.

While I still have a child- like fascination with domino’s, I have come to recognize the concept which intrigued me is the same we see in organization’s we lead and are apart of every day.  The leader has incredible potential to give a little push here or tweak something just slightly and before you recognize it, the domino effect takes place and it impacts the entire organization and system.  In the leadership world this is called systems thinking.  What you do today, regardless of how small or large it may appear, will affect every part of the organization you lead or are apart of.  The incredible aspect of the domino effect is understanding that touching one domino will affect every other domino that you have never touched before.  As a leader, one must recognize that their actions and decisions will impact the entire system, even the parts they do not have direct access to.

As the old saying goes, “you are only as strong as your weakest part”, is so true.  The impact of the weakest part of your organization can cause it to hemorrhage to the point of no repair.  The weakest aspect of the organization is like a constant force on a domino that is pushing against every other aspect of the system.  Before long the system breaks down and can not function properly.

The challenge for the leader is to take a step back and view their organization as a set of domino’s.  What domino in the system is throwing every other domino off?  Do you need to push a little harder, or maybe pull back a little?  What small thing are you doing or not doing that is causing an impact that is unhealthy to the culture of the organization you serve?  And just for the fun of it, maybe you should go purchase a pack of domino’s and teach some of the leaders within your organization the impact each one of them makes on all the surrounding people in the organization.

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