Leaders, The Strategies For Taking Charge, EMPOWERMENT: THE DEPENDENT VARIABLE


This will be the last post from the Leaders book.  Stay tuned for what is next…

Authors quotes:

“The essential thing in organizational leadership is that the leader’s style PULLS rather than PUSHES people on.  A pull style of influence works by attracting and energizing people to an exciting vision of the future.  It motivates by identification, rather than through rewards and punishments.

Leading is a responsibility, and the effectiveness of this responsibility is reflected in the attitudes of the led.  We’ve come to discover that these attitudes consist of four critical dimensions of the work force, what we refer to as empowerment.

We discovered that the effective leader seemed able to create a vision that gave workers the feeling of being at the active centers of the social order (first component of empowerment).  Such ‘centers’ have nothing to do with geometry and nothing to do with pop management bromides.  What they do do is get the organization (and its work force) to concentrate on serious acts.  These serious acts consist of areas in society where its leading ideas and institutions come together to create an arena in which the events that most vitally affects people’s lives take place.  It is an involvement with such arenas and with the momentous events that occur in them that ‘translates intentions into reality.’  It is not popular appeal or inventive craziness we have in mind but being near the heart of things.

The  second component of empowerment is competence, meaning development and learning on the job.

Thirdly, workers experienced something akin to ‘family,’ or community.  They felt joined in some common purpose.  We’re not talking necessarily about a matter of ‘liking’ one another.  Rather it was a sense of reliance on one another toward a common cause that we have in mind.

The fourth aspect of empowerment, enjoyment or just plain fun.  This should put to rest all those speculations that one must lead through ever-imminent punishment or, just simply, with the carrot and stick.

Through empowerment, workers seem to get so immersed in their game of work that they forget basic needs for long periods of time.  That enjoyment does not depend on scarce resources.  Thus, empowerment ameliorates (make better) not only the quality of work life but life itself.”

Personal comments:

A simple, true story about empowerment:

When I worked for Dow in Indianapolis someone had the idea that we should help those in need by providing food stuffs, clothes, and pay heating and electricity bills at Christmas time.  The idea was well received.

A team formed to work on the details (how the program would work, identifying those in need, collecting information on what they needed most, who would take responsibility for each aspect of the program).

The program was put in motion.  The enthusiasm, teamwork, and camaradarie that was developed was remarkable.

Results of the programs, for employees:

1. It gave them a feeling of significance; pride.

2. It gave them competence, they learned from the program.

3. They felt like a family.  Enthusiasm was incredible, knowing they could depend on each other.

4. The enjoyment and fun was unforgettable.  For example, one shopping trip for childrens clothes was especially rewarding with employees searching and searching for “just the right outfits”.

Jobs need fun aspects.  Not difficult to achieve, bosses!

Next: Need to conduct research on a topic (the move interfered with my ability to spend the time).  There will be a post on January 27.

Author: maxbinkley

Creator of Leadership to the Max My experience in the military helped set the career path for me in human resources. After the military I worked for The Dow Chemical Company and left there in 1993 to venture out on my own. I purchased a small business, then a franchise then started another business in semi-retirement.

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