We asked VistaComm founder Bill Byrne for his insight on the topic, and here’s his take on The Art of Empowerment.
We have difficulty empowering others. Our professional world centers on ourselves and our own abilities. Delegation is infrequent—empowerment unusual. Successful leaders, however, have learned the advantages of including others in their exciting world. Not only are associates involved, they participate in achievement they can call their own. These leaders work to make others around them feel strong, responsible and needed. They keep the scoreboard in sight, the team names always posted. Success isn’t lonely in this environment. It’s exciting when everyone wins.
When people are given the liberty to use their ability, talent put to use on behalf of the company increases, positive feelings become contagious, people help each other succeed, and achievement rises to heights not found in most organizations.
Empowerment requires giving, a trait typical of good leaders. It’s not, however, a trait typical to managers who seek to sustain and increase their importance by diminishing that of others.
I’m a corporate dropout. Early in my professional career, I experienced life in the unempowered lane. It wasn’t fun.
Having sorted out my thoughts over the years, I now understand that my corporate experience consisted of responsibility without authority. The “branch manager” title I held wasn’t much more than that—a title. Our office was run by a CEO-seeker at headquarters more intent on building his personal reputation than empowering those reporting to him. I watched him dig tunnels under the working environment of my peers. It was a painful yet enlightening and educational experience. I learned all about being unempowered. I vowed to remember what it felt like to have large responsibility with little authority.
Empower others by inviting all employees to join the team. Help them keep score. Involve them in the free enterprise system and the feelings of responsibility and importance that go with it. Allow learning through failure. When accomplishments are made, be willing to say, “You did it.”