Empowerment Leadership

Empowerment of Employees
Knowledge Center

Gandhi Heryanto
Management Consultant, Indonesia

Empowerment Leadership

Unlike traditional leadership, "empowerment leadership" is about empowering others as a result of your presence. Empowerment leadership is also about ensuring that the impact of your leadership continues during your absence.

One of the most important assets that empowerment leadership must have is trust. With trust you create the conditions for your employees to be fully aware of their own capacities and strengths. The more trust you build, the more likely you are to practice this kind of leadership.

Trust has three core drivers: authenticity, logic and empathy:
  • AUTHENTICITY: People tend to trust you when they believe that they interact with the real you.
  • LOGIC: People tend to trust you when they have confidence in your judgment and competence.
  • EMPATHY: People tend to trust you when they feel that you care about them.
When trust is lost, it can almost always be traced back to damage in one of the above three drivers.

At times when trust breaks down, or fails to gain real traction, it's usually the same driver that has gone wobbly on us (Editor: ~make you feel uncertain/insecure) - authenticity, empathy, or logic. We call this driver a "trust wobble". Simply stated, this is the driver that is most likely to fail you. Everyone, it turns out, has a trust wobble.

To identify your wobble, think of the last moment when you were not trusted as much as you wanted to be. If you had to choose from three of our trusted drivers, would you say was going wobbly to you in this situation? Do you feel skeptical that you misrepresent a part of yourself or your story? If so, that's a matter of authenticity. Do your skeptics feel that you might prioritize your own interests? If so, that's a matter of empathy. Are you skeptical about the accuracy of your analysis or your ability to carry out ambitious plans? If so, that's a logic problem.

To be a truly empowering leader, you need to know where you are wobbly, not only in your relationships with others, but also in your relationships with yourself. Once after you have identified your "wobble," you can take steps to overcome it.

Source: Frei F.X., Morriss A. 2020. "Begin with Trust". Harvard Business Review. May–June 2020 Issue.

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