John Maxwell demonstrates the power of empowerment with a simple exercise –
Get a friend to stand in front of you and try pushing him down by pressing down on his shoulder. The lower you want to push, the lower you will have to bend.
Similarly, try pulling the same friend up and the higher you want to lift them, the more you will observe yourself standing on your toes to help your friend go higher.
Essentially, the more we try to empower people, the higher we go. This is best illustrated in Henry Ford II’s time at Ford.
Under Henry Ford II, the Ford motor company’s fortunes were full of ups and downs. The ups were when Henry relinquished his leadership to others who took the company to greater heights and the downs were when Henry systematically worked to throw them out of the company when he sensed they were getting too popular for his liking.
This was why successful executives like Ernie Breech, Lee Iacocca were shown the door at Ford from time to time. Henry Ford II was an insecure leader and Ford suffered as a result.
The difficulty in understanding empowerment is said to be apparent in that ‘to be indispensable, you have to be dispensable’ i.e. you should consistently be able to elevate others to do your job so you can go higher, and the minimum requirement for empowerment, as a result, is a secure leader. Let’s aim to empower our fellow team members this week..
Best wishes for a great week!