Failure to empower your team will kill your dream. Your dream may be simple or your dream may be complex. Regardless, if you are going to achieve it, you're going to need other people to embrace it as their own to have any chance of success. When is the last time you accomplished anything of value that didn't require another person?
The real issue isn't whether or not we agree that empowerment is the greater choice. We all give mental assent to the idea of empowering others. We know that's the right answer, yeah?- Empowerment! "I love to empower my team!", we say. But, how's that working out for you in your daily habits?. Do your actions (behaviors, facial expressions, tone of voice) match your verbal praise for the Law of Empowerment? Put your belief in empowerment to the test by asking three simple questions.
Three Questions to Test Your Belief in Empowerment
If you're ready to go deeper and develop a consistent process for communicating in ways that empower your team, request my free step by step process for charting the course when communicating change. This method has allowed me to increase engagement with my team when it counts the most. I think it will do the same for you. You can find it here.
My parents determined that it was time for me to work on my work-ethic. I didn't have much skill and I didn't know what I was interested in, so at 15 years old I went with the only thing I knew. Cutting grass. I heard about a crew that was hiring so I applied and was hired on the spot. Talk about excited! I left that office ready to make my mark on the world and get some much-needed cash in my pocket. Over time, I've come to learn that everyone enters a new job with major enthusiasm, sky-high ambition, and a hope that they'll move closer to achieving their dreams.
Those first few weeks, I was on cloud nine! I was making a contribution to the team, I liked the guys I was working with, and I was out in the world making a difference for the people we served! Then, things began to change. I started noticing my supervisor was super demanding. He was intolerant of little mistakes, harsh in correcting others, failed to listen to new ideas, and modeled a genuine disregard for anyone who held a position lower than his. To say he devalued others would be an understatement!
I made it through that summer, but the next summer when I was called to see about working again, I politely declined. You see, I learned a valuable lesson the year before. It wasn't that the company was bad. My leader was a bad leader and I quit him. I quit him because of his inability to value others. You see, people quit people, not jobs. It wasn't that I didn't want to cut grass that next summer (I still spent that summer cutting grass, just not with him). I didn't want to be cutting grass with him. I want to see you avoid the same mistake he made.
5 Keys To Avoiding People Quitting You
I grew up on a farm in South Georgia. My brother and I spent our summers fishing in the pond behind our house, riding ATV's through the woods and creek, and cooling off from the sweltering southern heat in our family pool. We had chores, and cleaning the pool every week of the summer was one of them. We had a love-hate relationship with that pool. On the one hand, it was an oasis. On the other, it was a curse. While the pool held out the promise of satisfaction, the limiting factor to our experiencing it was the ability to keep it clean. "You can swim as long as the pool is clean", my Dad would say. The benefits of the pool were controlled by a limit. Like my summer days long ago, there's a limiting factor at the core of leadership growth. Left unaddressed, it restricts our true potential from emerging and prevents us from experiencing more business growth and personal success.
Imagine for a moment that the pool represents our achievements (how much we have accomplished, the business we've built, the difference we've made in others). This is the oasis creacted by our efforts. However, just like my brother and I benefited from the pool to the degree we kept it clean, how much you increase your levels of success (however you define it) depends upon on your ability to overcome the limiting factor of your leadership lid.
Potential is limited by our ability to lead. We can't grow beyond our current level of success without growing our capacity to lead. Leadership ability is the limiting factor. Your current level of leadership has gotten you where you are today. For example, on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being highest), let's say you are a 4 on the success scale and a 5 on the leadership scale. Your likelihood of experiencing greater success is dependent on your ability to lift your leadership lid to another level. Grow your leadership lid from a 5 to a 6 and your success can grow from a 4 to a 5. Success never outpaces our leadership ability.
In the end, the ability to act on limiting factors determines our ability to enjoy new levels of success. You have a choice to take action on those factors, or not. How far can you really go without the ability to lead people beyond where you've taken yourself? We can't take others where we haven't been ourselves- that's the principle behind the law of the lid. Without an intentional plan to grow your leadership not much is going to change. Are you ready to lift your lid? You can activate your untapped leadership potential by acting on your answers to these three questions:
W. Shane McKenzie is an Executive Coach and Mentor who specializes in helping successful leaders leave their job to own a business using proven strategies to minimize risk.