Nothing great in life is achieved individually - all human greatness comes about through collective effort. That explains why we learn about teamwork the very moment we embark on the leadership journey. The myth of the lone ranger has been debunked. You will notice that even superhero movies depict group work when good battles evil. It is no longer just Captain America or Wonder Woman saving the world on his or her own; superheroes are now portrayed as needing help from others in order to achieve their greatness.
An organization is as strong as its weakest link. It makes good and perfect sense to enable every member of the group to be at her best, to exercise her innate talents, to live out her highest potential. I learned this fundamental truth at a young age when I was introduced to canoeing. I discovered that a pair of weaker canoeists stroking the water in perfect synchrony will beat another stronger pair who are not paddling as well every time.
How do we help each and every one of our community rise to the occasion, to be the best that he or she can be? When does one give of her best to the organization she belongs?
When I am convicted of the cause or the mission of the organization, you have drawn me into your destiny. The more inspiring and the nobler the cause, the more formidable will my allegiance be. A formidable force is generated when my passion is aligned with the organization's mission and I am prepared to labour sacrificially when the window of opportunity opens for me.
Nobody wants to be merely a cog in the wheel in the organization. I am motivated when what I say and what I do matter to the leaders of my community. When my leaders listen to my perspective as well as my opinion, when my suggestions are translated into visible changes, when my contributions are recognized and acknowledged to my colleagues, I become a devout follower who will lay down my life to slave for my team. I appreciate being given the authority commensurate with the amount of responsibility I shoulder. It is always frustrating when I have been given tasks and duties but no power or resources to to fulfill them. I respect leaders who draw clear boundaries for my work such that I enjoy autonomy within those boundaries. True satisfaction comes from witnessing my efforts contribute to my team's success.
The icing on the cake for empowerment is when I am given ample opportunities to grow and develop in the organization. When I know my leaders desire and have plans for me to acquire more knowledge, upgrade my skills as well as to be exposed to new learning experiences, I have faith that my presence is highly valued and will reciprocate with enormous loyalty.
The intentional systematic effort made to grant every member of the team to fulfill her potential, perform at her peak so as to be part of a winning team is the magic of empowerment.