Enable Others To Act

To gain more power it must be given away. This principle holds true across much of nature. To gain an apple one must plant an apple seed. To gain a child one must give away a sperm. If one wants to gain friends, one must be friendly. One gains what one wants by what one plant or gives away. The ancient Hebrew writer, Moses, pens in Genesis Chapter 1 and verse 12 that the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in it self according to its kind (Biblesoft, 1995). Fundamentally, every object will produce after its kind. An orange seed will never give you an avocado. Power begets power (Loma, 2008). Leaders, who empower, instead of managing the bulk of responsibilities on their own, invest the best part of their time in training, delegation, and duplication. This creates a kind of economy-of-scales of the leader’s ability or a reproduction of the leader according to its kind. Few people are successful leaders unless a lot of people want them to be (Maxwell, 1993).

The Kouzes Posner Model elaborates well on the topic of empowering. Enabling others to act is seen as such a needed ability that the phrase has almost become a cliché. In her experience, Jill Cleveland finance manager for Apple Inc., said to be successful I need to learn to develop a cohesive and collaborative team (p.221).

Too often one will find leaders managing a team, work as a group, yet hardly know anything about them. The failing of a leader to make a priority to learn the imaginings, desires, and values of followers hinders relationships and limits the leader’s ability to empower his team in their power spot. Conversely, the best leaders are readers of people and intuitively understand others, discern their emotions, and can read their judgments. To do this well, the leader must spend time with his or her followers. Simply put, the easiest way to empower is to give of yourself.

Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts; the only true gift is a portion of thyself.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

In surmising the idea of enable others to act, the leader would be well suited to use the key ingredients listed below:

Relationships Based On Trust And Confidence: A leaders needs to use trust as the framework (p. 221). Without trust you can not lead (p.224).

Team Effort: The leaders job is to make sure all parties interest and how each gain more from working together (p. 237).

Frequent Use Of We: Inclusive language reinforces the fact that goals are truly collaborative, not imposed (p. 245).

Involve Those Who Have A Stake In The Vision: Leaders make sure that they consider alternative view points and make use of other people's ability (p. 229).

There Must Be A Feeling Of Ownership: Accountability results in the feeling of ownership, that you the responsibility for what is going on (p. 259).

Giving Power Instead Of Hoarding It: Any leadership practice that increases another's sense of self-determination, confidence, and effectiveness makes that person more powerful and enhances the possibility of success (p. 253).

Encourage The Heart

The complexities and difficulties of leadership are as varied as the colors of the rainbow. Yet in the midst of the differences good leaders have similarities. The most notable is the ability to encourage the heart. The Posner model begins with some practical applications that can bring encouragement such as clear expectations and recognition, to mention a few. The most telling skill is the leader’s ability to make recognition personal and important. Organizational diagrams do not matter at all. Be sure to treat your employees as human beings and not as functional workers (p. 294).

Leadership can be equated to a trip through the desert. The Desert strips a person to the basic need to survive. The desert of leadership always deals with one’s character; uncovering things hidden from the past and present. Pressure will always bring out the best and the worst in people. The desert has this distinctive way of uncovering the truth about a person. The initial shock of the desert brings a person down.

A desert tested leader must be cognizant that many followers in his or her team are under pressure and will respond best when their leader encourages the heart. People are just more willing to follow someone they like and trust (p.295). The leader who encourages must show an interest in followers. By simply asking questions like what do you dream about, what do you cry about, and what makes you happy, can set the stage to develop a winner’s attitude. A person's dreams reveal what drives their passion. A person’s passion is revealed when the leader looks at the pain hidden inside a human soul. A happy soul is a needed ingredient to encourage the human spirit.


Leadership is everyone business (p. 337). If one extrapolates this thought, one can see that leadership development addresses every aspect of a person. Leadership development will make one a better, teacher, student, parent, child, employer, and employee. Fortunately, leadership can be taught or developed. However, let one never forget that the best teacher is experience. One can be schooled in the fine art of leadership but leadership can not be fully developed until wisdom is accrued. Wisdom is gained through pain and reflection (Bennis, 2003, p.134). How employees perform is a reflection of the one for whom they work (Maxwell, 1993). The Kuozes Posner model confirms with sound research that leadership is for everyone. Only the naïve, ignorant, or arrogant would avoid the opportunity to develop their leadership ability.


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