3 Most Important Ways Leaders Empower Others

“Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.”  (John Maxwell)

Who do you think is a good leader?  What attributes do they have that others do not? When I see a good leader, I am as equally impressed with that leader as I am with the people that work for him/her.  Why is that?  Good leaders have a tendency to have great employees.  Good leaders empower their employees.  When a person feels empowered, they will work harder and take more ownership in their work.  So, how do leaders empower others?

Foster Communication—many businesses (both big and small) have an environment of top-down communication.  A leader makes a decision and the employees follow through.  There is typically not a direct line of communication between the executive leadership of a company and the employees. So, change that.  Give employees a structured way to have input.  Utilize a survey, host an informal meeting, or use the old “comment box” idea.  Whatever structure you choose, make sure they know their opinion matters and you value them even if you do not use their opinion in making decisions.  When a person feels heard and understood, they will take more ownership in their work.

Model Respect—many leaders do not model respect to their employees.  They issue commands and expect employees to just make it happen.  Employees might fear getting fired and follow the commands, but fear is not respect. Model respect to your employees and they will show you respect back.  One easy way to show respect to your employees is with your body language.  Be sure you make eye contact with them and smile.  Avoid looking at your phone or computer when they are talking.  Give them complete attention.  With respect you can get others to follow you, and getting people to follow you (and your vision) is a key to good business!  When a person feels respected at work, they will happily do more than is expected.

Delegate Tasks—some leaders won’t delegate tasks because they are afraid that they will lose control.  Others delegate but worry that mistakes may be made.  It is possible to delegate tasks without losing control or allowing mistakes to be made.  The easiest way to delegate is to find an employee who has the skill set needed for the task.  Then, allow them the room to do the task and report back to you.  Having them give you updates on the task will allow you the opportunity to keep control and help if a mistake is being made.  Delegation brings freedom and empowerment to both the leader and the employees.  Proficient employees will grow weary running to the boss for every decision that needs to be made.  So, delegate some tasks to your employees.  Delegation engages employees and allows them a chance to grow and face new challenges.  With delegation, the employees will get a sense that their manager trusts them and that will encourage employees to become high contributors to the business.

Fostering communication, modeling respect, and delegating tasks have helped me run successful businesses.  As a natural leader, I can lead anyone, but to be truly successful as a leader, I learned how to empower my employees. What ways do you empower your employees?  Are there areas of your leadership that need to be fine-tuned to allow others to be empowered?

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