I often hear individuals speak about how they want to feel empowered or perhaps they want the company or their boss to empower them. What is it that they are really asking for? Yes by definition the leader can empower you. According to Webster’s Empower means
:to give power or authority to; authorize, especially by legal or official
Can I really give you power though? Don’t you have to own it? How do you do that? I believe we gain power from our experience, our self-talk and our decision. Let me suggest a few ways to think about building your own power:
1. Clarity of purpose. I can speak painfully to this. There have been times when I am very clear on my purpose and others when I have had a lack of clarity. The difference is noticeable. For example I can remember a time when I had a very clear purpose to earn my Black Belt. I had just graduated from college and took a job that moved me 900 miles away. I started over and then moved again 900 miles away and it took me a bit longer and several instructors BUT I earned my Dan ranking. Then there have been times when I was not clear on where I wanted to go or do and I wondered why things were not coming to me. If I don’t know how can anyone else? Clarity is a powerful force.
2. Developing competence in your field is the next key. No one starts out as a master in their field. Everyone goes through a learning curve. What often happens is that we allow ourselves to reach a basic level of competence (enough to get by) and we stop there. But if we want to be truly powerful we have to practice, we have to fail and learn from failure and practice some more. As a sales person that means making call after call and then evaluating your success and adapting. The world of selling has changed a lot since I started selling. That means I have had to change and it is not always easy.
3. The next key is consistency. Personal power is in part based on trust. The trust that you will behave in a certain way or that I can count on you in these kinds of situation. For example, if I know that you have my back and that you will support me even if I make a mistake I am more willing to take risks and grow. If on the other hand I know you will waffle or bend depending upon who is in the room, you will not be able to call on me except through coercion. That is not sustainable.
So if you really want to be empowered empower yourself by exercising power. You can begin with clarity of purpose; followed by the development of competence and the exercise of consistency.
May the Force be with you ~ Luke Skywalker in Empire Strikes back