3 Ways to Put the Power Back in Empowerment

Published August 22, 2016

Have you ever wondered why so little power is often invested in empowerment?

Coming out of the 2016 Global Leadership Summit, I was so encouraged to hear speaker after speaker talk about the importance, not only of empowering others, but also how to make empowerment a reality.

As I sat in my Summit seat, I thought back to a time when someone had taken the time to invest real power in my own leadership.

I had joined the staff of a church of about 2500 people in the role of executive pastor. To ensure my success, the senior pastor had done far more than simply given me an important sounding title, a lofty place in our organization chart and a corner office.

He went to great lengths to ensure I was fully empowered to carry out the leadership assignment I had been given.

Specifically, he practiced three critical empowerment principles:

  1. Empowerment requires public affirmation

In my first meeting with the full staff, the senior pastor placed his hand on my shoulder and said, “Team, I want you to know that when Scott speaks, he is speaking for me. He carries the same weight as when you are talking to me.”

Immediately the entire team knew that I had been fully empowered to take on this role.

  1. Empowerment requires development

While he believed in my ability to grow into the role, he also knew that he had a responsibility to provide me with ongoing, consistent coaching.

Every week we would meet to discuss my progress, my decisions, my challenges and my successes. Everything became a coaching moment.

The reason for this was simple; he knew that in order to empower me to be successful in the role, it meant he had to invest his time, expertise and experience into me.

Empowerment requires development.

  1. Empowerment requires backup

Even when I made a bad call, the senior pastor never chastised me publicly. In private he would certainly make sure I had learned from the misstep, but in public, he made it clear that I had his full support.

As leaders, we have the opportunity and the responsibility to empower those we lead. To do so requires more than good intentions. It requires purposeful action steps. As Jossy Chacko said, “Empowerment happens in relationship.”

Try implementing the steps taken by my senior pastor.

And as you do, watch what happens as you truly put the power back into empowerment.

About the Author(s)
Scott Cochrane

Scott Cochrane

Vice President of International

Global Leadership Network

Scott Cochrane serves as Vice President of International at the Global Leadership Network. An insightful and genuine leader, he travels the globe mentoring international teams. Prior to joining the GLN, he was the executive pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Kelowna, British Columbia, and provided leadership to the Global Leadership Network Canada.