Friday, September 7, 2012

Empower the People

No, it’s not a left over chant of the ‘60s.  It should, however, be your slogan.  A poor leader keeps a clenched fist on the reins of his organization, micromanaging everyone and everything underneath him.  A successful leader, on the other hand, realizes that he cannot do everything himself or be everywhere at the same time.  In order for his leadership to grow, he must give some of his power away.

A poor leader is afraid to share.  They become a reservoir, holding everything in their power because it’s the power they crave.  They want the accolades and rewards for themselves, and therefore, they stay in charge of every little project, lead every meeting, and dictate jobs they will ultimately do themselves.  They are afraid of others outshining them and the attention not being theirs.  They falsely believe that another’s success somehow diminishes their own.  Because of this mentality, productivity is low and the leader soon finds he is burnt out and unnecessarily stressed.

A wise leader sees himself more as a river with power passing through him down to his people.  This person is able to accomplish a great deal because he utilizes those in his group.  He doesn’t dictate jobs, he delegates projects.  He trusts his people and it’s because of that trust that his people succeed.  When those under him are rewarded he beams with pride, because he knows their success is also his.  He wants them to shine, to grow, and to move on to greater things.  Whereas a poor leader sees the project, a successful leader sees the people.

Whether you are leading a business, church group, civic organization or just a family, the way to keep people involved is to give them ownership of some area.  You need to put them in charge of a project or division and give them the power to see it through.  I used to do this with the groups I was growing, even if it was assigning them the task of roll call or greeting people at the door.  They had a job and therefore stayed involved.

While you may check on their progress and offer them suggestions, do not micromanage them.  Be a gentle hand, not an immovable fist.  They may fail, but that’s okay.  Everyone does occasionally.  Your job as leader is to pick them up and help them back on track.  Then, let go again and watch what they do.  Show them you have confidence in them and they will want to prove that confidence is not misplaced.

Both types of leader can get things done.  However, a leader that is not afraid to empower his people will accomplish more in a shorter amount of time.  His people will also have a better attitude and produce higher quality work because they will be doing it for themselves.  They will take greater pride in what they are doing because you have given them ownership of it.  As I said in Build Positive Relationship, invest in your people and they will help you achieve your goals.  Don’t hoard the power you have, but rather, give it away.  

You’ll have more time on your hands to accomplish more and you won’t be as stressed out and tired as the other leader.  A wise leader knows he can’t do it all and therefore, he doesn’t even try.
More power to the people!  Okay, now that was a left over chant.

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                            Leggo Your Ego

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