In a very practical book, Achieve Leadership Genius, authors Drea Zigarmi, Susan Fowler and Dick Lyles ask, “What if employees didn’t wait to be empowered—but empowered themselves?”
Good question; one that places the responsibility for “empowerment” where it belongs. The individual. If you’re waiting for your boss to give up control and decision-making authority to turn you into a free-thinking, free-wheeling employee, empowered to determine your own work rules, you’ll wait a long time. Empowerment is a good idea, but as the authors point out, it depends on self-leadership—“people who possess the ability, energy, and determination to accept responsibility for success in their work-related role.”
Employee engagement suffers because organizations depend on managers to engage employees, rather than developing self leaders who recognize their responsibility and have the skill to take initiative for success in their role.
It just makes sense that every organization should develop self-leaders—yet this is usually the most underfunded and undervalued aspect of leadership training.
The road to empowerment begins with visualizing your ideal role. That vision is something you can begin to build your identity around. How do you see yourself? How do you want others to see you? Your identity will guide you thoughts, decisions and actions. Keep in mind, your vision should be aligned with the goals and purposes of your boss and organization or you will get no support. The authors remind us to, “Consider your role as a piece of the puzzle—one of many in an organization. It is important fro you top understand the big picture and your place within it. Your efforts to envision will not only help you understand the meaning of your work, but it will also remind your boss of the vital contributions being made by you and your role.”
Wise sages extol the virtue in the moment. But what happens when the challenge of the moment diminishes the energy available for moving forward? Your work-related vision acts like an emotional manager to pull you through the tough times and into a time of possibility. It provides a transition from the potentially threatening current reality to the next step of action. It empowers you to overcome the inevitable obstacles, pain strife, exhaustion, and any number of inevitable de-motivators that could jeopardize success in your work-related role.
Courtesy Leadership Now