Exploring the elements of empowerment


As I am identifying management basics in this series, I must include the elements of empowerment. Since the late 1970s, when I started my study of empowerment, my understanding of empowerment has evolved and transformed. I now see the process of empowerment being evolutionary and transformational. To evolve is to develop gradually and in accordance with the needs within a person, relationship, organization or particular environment. A child evolving into an adult, a friendship evolving into a more intimate relationship, a small group or small business evolving into a more formal or incorporated entity are all examples of this.

Transformation has a similar dynamic to evolution as one form changes and becomes a new and different form. Think of various companies that started out in a basement or garage and now are major national or global companies. Consider the evolution and transformation of your body, life in general and the jobs/careers you have had.

Here are the steps and stages of empowerment. Notice the connections and correlations to evolution and transformation.

• What really matters in our life and work becomes our values, principles and priorities. Reflect on what really mattered to you as a child or an adolescent. Now, as an adult, what is most important to you? How have you evolved and transformed?

• Cultivate ownership through opportunities for involvement and buy-in. Nurture belonging, pride and passion. As we cultivate and nurture land or people over time, evolution and transformation happen in real ways. Notice the changes in a field throughout the seasons. Notice the changes in abilities and attitudes as people mature with care and support.

• Connecting with sources of power produces smiles, confidence, energy and excitement. In your relationships with things, skills and other people, can you sense the powerful energy dynamic that exists? Identify three or more people, places, things or experiences where you connect with a power within your body, mind or spirit. Such connections can evolve and transform.

• Feeling trust enables and empowers us to say more, share more, be more and do more. At work and at home, trust is a power dynamic that can significantly evolve and transform relationships.

• Being responsible and accountable is an intentional action and mindset of evolution and transformation. As we take on responsibilities, account for our actions and hold others accountable, we evolve and transform before the eyes of others.

• Working as a team transforms individuals into a community with purpose.

• Recognizing and supporting interdependence is the manifestation of evolution and transformation from and through dependence and independence.

• Establishing abundant development through training, education and coaching changes people and organizations into lifelong, learning entities of constant evolution and transformation.

• Sharing acknowledgement, recognition and celebration.

Think through these nine steps of empowerment and notice how your life and work have evolved and transformed.