Jul 25

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12 – The Law of Empowerment

“A Leader’s Potential Is Determined by Those Closest to Him”

In John C. Maxwell’s book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You (2007), John shares the law of empowerment.
Team Empowerment

Contrary to popular belief, leadership power is not a finite resource. Many act as if leadership power is a finite resource in short supply. This mindset causes one to protect their leadership power rather than distribute their power to others, which actually grows their influence and enables producing even greater results. Managers that leverage only their positional power create barriers that prevent groups and organizations from flourishing. If the barriers persist long enough, high-performing people will seek environments that enable them grow.

John shares three predominate reasons that explain the reluctance of people to share their power.

1. Job Security. As mentioned in several previous articles, many mistakenly believe that hoarding knowledge and skills ensures job security. I have personally witnessed far too many people that found the demand for their long-held knowledge and skills diminish due to shifting business needs. Hoarding knowledge and skills only serves to prevent personal growth.

2. Resistant to Change. Empowering people causes them to grow. Empowerment encourages constant change because people do not stagnate but tend to look for new ways to accomplish objectives. Innovation by definition includes the concept of change. Progress occurs by challenging the status quo resulting in constant change. As creatures of habit, people often find change difficult to embrace. Leaders must learn to embrace change and even encourage change. Great leaders by definition are change agents, the catalyst and support of change.

3. Lack of Self-Worth or Low Self-Esteem. This barrier prevents people from becoming effective leaders because they tend to be self-conscious or acutely aware and concerned about what others think about them, how they look, or whether people like them. People with low self-worth give power and control over their own lives to other people leaving little to no power left for them to empower others. On the other hand, people with a healthy sense of self-worth believe they can make a difference and actively empower other people to increase their capacity, performance, and achievement.

If you find one or more of these barriers restricting your ability to empower others, refer to the article 3 – The Law of Process for a discussion about leveraging a development process for your continued growth.

I wish you well on your personal growth journey. I appreciate your additional insight, so feel free to comment to share your thoughts and experiences.

Links to other posts in this discussion on the laws of leadership.
Mind map of the 21 laws of leadership.
Introduction to the leadership laws | 1 – The Law of the Lid | 2 – The Law of Influence | 3 – The Law of Process | 4 – The Law of Navigation | 5 – The Law of Addition | 6 – The Law of Solid Ground | 7 – The Law of Respect | 8 – The Law of Intuition | 9 – The Law of Magnetism | 10 – The Law of Connection | 11 – The Law of the Inner Circle

Maxwell, John. (2007). The 21 irrefutable laws of leadership: Follow them and people will follow you. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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