Empowerment Leadership – Releasing the Talent of the Team

Wed, 2011-10-19 09:39 -- tomjonez

There are a variety of styles that people use to accomplish objectives when leading teams of people – whether the teams are large or small.

As we mentioned last week, two styles in particular are worth a brief review.  Last week we looked briefly at Command-and-Control leadership which is clearly more autocratic (or authoritarian); a style by which managers prefer to make all the important decisions and to closely supervise and control workers. This week we will examine the “empowerment” style of leadership.

The empowerment approach stresses that the wisdom, skill, and experience of individual team members are essential resources for the organization.   Therefore, individual contribution is highly valued by leadership.  With this style, measurable goals are set up by agreement between leadership and participants, responsibility is assigned to each individual, corresponding authority is delegated to carry out tasks, and deadlines for review and assessment are set. Then this process is repeated for the next objective and time-frame.

In short, workers are empowered to carry out their task(s), and encouraged to contribute based on their individual talent and creativity.  Effective empowerment strategies also include a reward or incentive system tied to achievement of the agreed-upon goals.

The empowerment leadership style values individual creativity and provides a climate that encourages personal motivation; people will take action out of internal inspiration rather than fear and self-preservation because they are generally “set free” to perform well.  With this style it is also generally true that productivity, personal dignity, and a sense of accomplishment are enhanced. 

What do you think? We are particularly interested in your feedback regarding the differences between the Command-and-Control and Empowerment leadership styles.