How about a new perspective on empowering others?
Jan 18, 2024I’ve recently had the privilege of being interviewed on a couple of podcasts (you can find my previous interviews on the Media Page on my website). During the most recent interviews, I was asked how a leader can empower others.
In my book, Right Now Leadership, I share a series of mindsets and habits people can use to empower others, but here I want to share a few layers deeper. You’ll learn about the four practical steps to empowering others. Let’s first define what I mean by empowering others.
In short, engaging their whole person, especially their unconscious mind, to do things that fit who they are and what they are about to their benefit (and, in turn, yours or the organization’s). Before you click away because this seems like it could be a ChatGPT email, it’s not, and I assure you, these steps are different than you’ve heard before.
Start with Fascination
Do you remember the last time you talked to someone and they utterly fascinated you? I mean, you were riveted by their stories, experiences, and who they are (or were). This is the starting point for genuinely empowering others.
Think about the people in your life that you lead and love. Are you fascinated by them? Do you assume they have amazing and interesting stories? Are you intrigued by the way they think and how they solve problems? This can be your spouse, an employee, or your child. When you start with fascination, your unconscious mind engages differently with that person. Just think back to the person who came to mind. How engaged was your body language, your listening, your unconscious mind?
If you begin with the assumption that the person you are empowering is fascinating, it’s much easier to take the next step.
Study Your Peeps
Now that the people around you get you excited and intrigued about who they are, what they are about, and how they think, you can begin to study them. For example, this looks like observing their behavioral patterns and body language (just not in a creepy way). You can do this through conversations, engaging at meetings, social gatherings, over coffee, etc. The options are boundless.
When I recognized that my middle daughter is a kinesthetic communicator, it really helped me to respect her pace of communication (very slow) and way of communication (with her body and many gestures). This new understanding helped me slow down and respect her model of the world. In turn, helping her to respond better to my requests.
Studying the people around you that you lead and can empower helps you to learn their skills and interests at a different level. When you know their wiring, it is much easier to delegate things to them. It also helps you understand their approach to situations and how you can help them (or get out of the way).
This brings me to the third step.
Help Them Think
As described in the definition above, empowerment is engaging the whole person. Specifically, in this step, we are talking about engaging their unconscious mind. The fastest and simplest way to do this with those you lead is to ask open-ended questions. Questions that require a pause and real thinking.
I recently spoke with a client about her revenue goals for next year. She wants to raise support for her nonprofit and has a 100-200k figure in mind. I immediately heard, “What if you could 10x that number?” So I asked her that exact question. This open-ended question led to a spark of vision and empowerment that set her on an entirely different course about what is possible in her organization. That’s empowerment.
So far, you’ve learned to be fascinated by those you can empower, study them closely, and ask open-ended questions to engage their minds. When you combine all three of these steps, you are on your way to truly empower those you lead. But wait, there’s more.
Celebrate Those You Lead
The fourth step to empowerment is to celebrate the large and small victories of the people you can lead. This is one of the most fun parts of empowering others. Celebrating can be as simple as complimenting others for their hard work and successes. It can be acknowledging efforts in success and failure. There’s another layer to celebration that gets us back to engaging and empowering the mind.
My oldest daughter is starting a custom greeting card business. She’s creating birthday, holiday, and thank you cards that people can purchase. They have fun designs and colors to make them stand out. We’ve been discussing this for a few months now, and she’s gotten started.
Along the way, I encouraged her and asked her questions to help her take action toward this goal. Now that she is acting on it more seriously, I’ve failed in the celebration step. When asked by her to critique her designs, instead of celebrating that she got started and has a half dozen cards created, I said I liked “A” and “B” but not “C.” That wasn’t ideal. I should have shared what I appreciated specifically about a couple of the cards, celebrated that she’s made five, and then asked her about what inspired her designs and choices.
Often, celebrating others is asking them why they did what they did the way that they did it. This type of celebration is empowering and encouraging. It lets them know you see what they did and appreciate their work, but more importantly, appreciate who they are. They know this because you are asking about them and their decision-making. This feels amazing to people, and it is excellent to do.
Empowering others is a beautiful experience for you and for them. To do it well, follow these four steps.
Begin with fascination.
Study those you get to empower.
Engage their thinking.
Celebrate the small and the big - but primarily celebrate WHO they are.
When you empower people this way, their ability to achieve great things skyrockets. Who fascinates you in your life now?
If you’d like to learn how you can empower your team and get greater results, improve your culture, and enjoy what you do even more, let’s connect. The three options below will help you empower those you lead in life and business to new levels. Pick one, and let’s connect.
How to connect:
Set up a free consultation where we can discuss how you can empower others through your unique leadership.
Join me on a call to discuss how a Thinking Environment Workshop may be exactly what your team needs to be empowered.
Let's discuss DISC. Learn how DISC can help you improve workplace communication, hiring, and empowering your team.
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