A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to sit down with the executive leaders of one of my client companies. We were discussing the topic of empowering others, and I asked the question, “What does a person need to possess before we as leaders feel confident to empower them with an important project or assignment?”
We had a great discussion, and it didn’t take long for these leaders to agree on five elements in response to this question. These insights aren’t specific to any one organization; they are great traits for how any individual can better serve and lead up to their leader.
- Trust – Your leader needs to have trust and confidence that you can do the job with success. No follower wants to be set up for failure, and leaders aren’t in the business to help others fail. Get to know your leader. A trusting relationship comes with time and a trust in your skill set comes as you demonstrate success in your current role.
- Competency – You must have the skill set to complete the project that’s being empowered to you. You must continue to grow your skill set in your trade and communicate with your leaders so there is agreement on where your area of expertise is and if there is any opportunity for improvement.
- Consistency – Are you reliable? Is your current performance dependable no matter the day of the week? Consistent behavior and performance are comforting for both the leader and the follower because we know what we’re getting. The risk is not great because we can rely on one another. Whether it’s attendance, positive attitude, meeting deadlines or obtaining goals, consistent performance is key to growth.
- Commitment – What are you passionate about? You perform best when you are committed and passionate towards the subject or project. Do your passion and commitment show up in a way that encourages your leader to empower you? Does your leader know what you’re passionate and committed to? Have that open discussion with them.
- Honest Feedback – It’s crucial for the leader to give honest feedback on a new project you’ve been empowered to own. It’s also important that you are able to receive honest feedback. Honest feedback, good or bad, must be present from both the leader and the follower. If not, the team, department and company could be hurt due to expectations not being met. So be open for feedback. And if you are not getting it, ask for it.
Empowering isn’t a one-way street that goes from leader to follower. The responsibility lies with both parties, and it’s up to you as the follower to ensure you are doing everything that you can to earn the right to be empowered by your leader.
Are there any characteristics you’d add to this list?