Empowerment – The SLEEP continues

For any manager or leader, what is important is to avoid using old methods of managing teams. He/she needs to slowly but steadily adopt the more advanced or new ways
15 Oct 2016 11:00
Empowerment – The SLEEP continues

For any manager or leader, what is important is to avoid using old methods of managing teams.

He/she needs to slowly but steadily adopt the more advanced or new ways of leading and managing their respective people towards accomplishing their individual as well as collective goals and objectives!

This is whether he or she is a leader in an organisation or someone who is a ‘teacher’ and is playing the role of a leader to her students.

And it is here that I would like to specifically emphasise upon the role of an important function of a leader and this function is called EMPOWERMENT.

What is really the meaning of this function of a leader called ‘Empowerment?

Well, in most simple and concise terms empowerment means the art and the ability of an individual or leader to ‘clarify’; ‘prioritize’; ‘recognise’ and ‘assign’ tasks or roles or responsibilities to his or her team and along with all this to be able to create ‘accountability’ for them.

In more simplistic terms it is the manner in which the leader ‘observes’ his team and then sensibly introspects about the various tasks and then subsequently delegates the same to specific members of his team.

He does this based upon two primary parameters and these are; CAPABILITY & COMPETENCY.

The role of the leader therefore is not to keep all the tasks and especially the critical tasks to himself all the time.

Empowering means in a way entrusting those challenges and responsibilities upon the junior team members and then encouraging them to execute these tasks successfully.

Empowering can also be used not just as a management or leadership too but a tool for generating ‘SELF-MOTIVATION’ for the members of the team.

The members who get entrusted with new challenges begin to feel a sense of courage and motivation from within.

But also important to note is the fact that those leaders who sincerely begin to delegate and empower also end up commanding ‘RESPECT’ from the team.

Remember we must; that there other leaders who end up ‘demanding’ that respect and not commanding it and we would not want to be those leaders for sure!


Role of mentoring in the process of empowerment

It is extremely critical to understand that when a leader assigns new challenges or responsibilities to his or her team members he must also play the role of a guide or a mentor to those whom he has empowered.

I say this because your team members, if not guided or mentored may lose their confidence and feel lost while trying to executing upon their new challenges.

There is a word we use often when we speak of a leader’s need to delegate or empower and this word is ‘HAND-HOLDING’.

In addition to Hand-holding, the leader must create the trust in his team members that though he has given them the full freedom and discretion to execute upon their tasks this leader will always be there for them whenever they need his assistance.


But why must a leader empower?

At the outset, like I have said earlier, empowerment automatically and quite naturally generates high levels of Self-Motivation which also leads to the enhancement of productivity and the attitude of INNOVATION.

But apart from that what also is an important benefit of this leadership function is that empowerment leads to the development of the team individually and also collectively.

If a leader is most passionate about developing and strengthening his or her team then he or she must begin to share the responsibilities or challenges with them.

This can be explained in an example.


The example

Rohit was the general manager in an advertising company. He had a team of more than seven senior managers reporting to him.

Having said that,

Rohit used to handle all the large and most potential clients for the company.

His team of seven managers were delegated the smaller clients and they seemed happy about it too.

It was only when Rohit had to suddenly rush to India for 15 days on a personal emergency that he realised the problem.

His main clients were almost feeling lost as their ‘one-point-contact’, Rohit was out of communication.

His team of seven tried their best to assist these large clients but the clients were not satisfied.

In this entire situation what was and is important that Rohit should have slowly and steadily developed his team to handle these large and important clients.

This could have been by giving them the opportunities to join him in some of the meetings so that they could learn the ways to handle those clients.

When Rohit returned, he literally had to meet each of these clients and sincerely apologise for not being there for them.

This is when one of the clients explained to him the need to develop his juniors and develop them by letting them handle these large clients along with Rohit’s guidance and a bit of specific mentoring.

Rohit analysed what was explained to him and began slowly and steadily making his juniors meet his big and important clients.

And in a few months he began to see that his team was handling these clients with high levels of quality and effectiveness.

Of course Rohit had to regularly guide and correct them which he did with passion.

That is when he saw that a strong team was getting built up and in some way he began to see himself as a true inspirational and developmental leader.



The art as well as the attitude of empowerment is something that leaders from all aspects of life must recognise and develop towards the strengthening and the uplift of the team that he or she is managing and leading.

Mayur Kalbag is a Leadership Coach, Corporate Trainer & Author. He can be contacted via email:


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