Why give power away
The more power you give away – the more powerful you become.
Yesterday I was talking with a special Assistant Headteacher. A former student who is working tremendously hard, within a challenging context, within a tricky leadership setup. I offered the response that the more power he gave away, the powerful he would become? And that this somewhat perverse, inverse relationship, seems to play out in a handful of leadership qualities.
Achieving more through empowering others is, ultimately, the hidden secret of leadership? No? Hoarding power eventually destroys it. Sharing power, creates environments where others feel power-ful.
It equally applied to leaders asking for help or leaders allowing themselves to be influenced? Asking for help models an interdependence showing that others influence you, enables greater influence?
Success ultimately depends on our ability to enlist the voluntary commitment rather than the forced obedience of others.
Though it is rarely as simple as that. Too much of a good thing and all… Each of these qualities, empowerment, influence, vulnerability, can lead us towards calamity if not accompanied by clarity, even explanation, from the leader.
The leaders task: Select the right time, the right people, with the required knowledge and skills necessary to achieve what is expected of them, or at least the capacity to development the required knowledge and skills. In doing so, leaders release the latent energy of the individual or team by relinquishing power, even better if they go on to share (defer) the credit for accomplishment.
In doing so, we model that action for other aspiring leaders.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As for the red hot chilli – “Give it away, give it away, give it away now…”