In order to lead, one must empower

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
After a few posts having been based on teamwork and the importance of collaborating, it is time to talk about how the leader of the group can bring about those circumstances that will convert them into the being the leader.

To illustrate this, we will base ourselves on the model shown by Ken Blanchard in his book Leading at a Higher Level. Blanchard is one of the biggest experts in the world when it comes to the subject of leadership.  His focus on the empowerment of teams can be of great use when it comes to managing a team.

Blanchard defines empowerment as “allowing people to take their minds to work and provide them with the possibility of using their knowledge, experience and motivation to create the expected results.  A business climate must be created in which the knowledge, experience and motivation that reside in people can be freed.

Changing a hierarchical company culture for a culture of empowerment demands effort from the top.  This is something that has to be born in the heart of the leader.  To achieve this, there are three basic steps:

  • Sharing information with everyone. This can mean having to reveal key or sensitive data but people need to have all of the information in order to make decisions.  By seeing the big picture, each member of a team can understand the repercussion of their actions in a global context.  In addition, the fact that they understand what their contribution means towards the end result, is psychologically more satisfying.  Tools like Zyncro greatly facilitate this information exchange.
  • Create autonomy.  Boundaries according to the abilities of each individual and their position are created, but not in a rigid and arbitrary fashion.  Steering away from the “this is your position and in it you do this particular work without stepping outside the line”.  Within these more flexible frontiers, the team members should have the liberty to make decisions and take responsibility for the results.  This requires constant learning, but it turns standard employees into people that think for themselves.  For example, it is the difference between, a service provider employee that resolves your problem or one that passes you with a supervisor.
  • Replace hierarchies with teams that lead themselves. When people obtain the necessary information, receive the necessary training and feel empowered, they can create teams that manage themselves.  These teams can carry out a wide range of decision making and organisation without the need for bureaucracy or the typical hierarchy.  All of this largely facilitates processes and makes way for interesting initiatives.  This leadership style is more in line with a social world, with a 2.0 world.  An environment in which hierarchies are levelled out more each time, where each person can share their unique vision and add it to that of the rest of the team members.  2.0 companies are organisations that grow and grow and adapt themselves to what the 21st century market requires.

Do you believe in empowering leadership? Or do you believe in the hierarchical setup?