And the challenges involved! Listen here 


In writing this article, I first wanted to see what the dictionary definition of the term “Empowerment” was. The meaning given being
“Authority or power given to someone to do something
“The process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights 


Personally, combining the two gives me the right answer, although I would soften the words along the lines of… 


“The belief given to someone to do something, in turn, helping them to become stronger and more knowledgeable. 


We will all have empowered people or have been empowered and in differing ways. Delegation or on occasion abdication is quite different. With empowerment, there is the premise that your people have the skills to carry out the task and with little or no intervention.  


In fact, true empowerment simply means that they carry out parts of the role that may previously have required your intervention, but now without any recourse to you. They just do it!  


So, what are the challenges? Let us assume that empowerment in this context means decision making as opposed to routine functions. 


  • Naturally, empowerment is a motivational tool when used correctly, but with the assumption that training has taken place initially. Without this a concern is that decisions are now being made by less experienced and less expert personnel. This can increase the number of mistakes made and put reputation at risk. 
  • Empowerment inevitably leads to a flatter and leaner management structure. The risk here is that professional relationships become blurred, and boundaries of authority become broken.  
  • Resulting from the last statement, accountability issues may arise, which can lead to a “blame culture”. 
  • If your teams do not have the correct skill sets, the decisions made will be poorer, in turn, having a knock-on effect to the business.   


Empowerment is a great tool but be prepared for this to also be a journey of discovery for both sides…And perhaps with some plans in place to assess actions and decision making! 


“Leaders can let you fail and yet not let you be a failure” 

Stanley McChrystal