I was looking at some previous leadership materials I used in my coaching and development works in order to design a new programme of work for an organisation that wants to support its leaders in being more empowering in their roles. Which led me to think about the traits of the most empowered leaders I have worked with. Some were empowered before we worked together, others afterwards and still there were 6 traits that were so easy to identify. And in keeping with the topic of power and leadership, I thought a second article would be helpful.
WE CAN PROBABLY EASILY IDENTIFY A NON-EMPOWERED LEADER FROM REAL LIFE OR POPULAR CULTURE, BUT WOULD WE KNOW AN EMPOWERED LEADER IF WE WORKED WITH ONE?
Here are six traits of empowered leaders.
DOES NOT NEED TO DOMINATE OTHERS
An empowered leader can be influential and lead effectively without having to exert their power over others. They do not need to bolster their own ego by dominating those with less power through their management style or personal behaviour.
ACCEPTS THE INFLUENCE OF OTHERS
Empowered leaders realise that others can add something of value, to conversations and to teams. They recognise other people may have more expertise than they do or have skills that they lack. They are open to being influenced without the fear of losing power or reputation.
IS COMFORTABLE WITH UNCERTAINTY
Rather than attempting to control uncertainty to relieve their own anxiety, empowered leaders can leave room for it when appropriate. At some stage all leaders will be faced with uncertainty and ambiguity, empowered leaders are able to manage their own anxiety without resorting to unhelpful behaviour. In uncertainty, they know that other people will look to them for reassurance. Although they experience their own anxiety they maintain their good leadership style and set a positive example for those around them.
SHARES THEIR POWER WITH OTHERS
Empowered leaders support others to gain momentum in their careers. An example of this is a leader who knows that sharing information will empower someone else. They do this to empower the other person, rather than acting from self-interest. An empowered leader will offer to make an introduction to someone who could be helpful to your career.
IS COMFORTABLE WITH BEING PROVEN WRONG
An empowered leader will accept when they are wrong without a loss of confidence. They know that failure is part of their development and that everyone makes mistakes, including leaders. They do not see these mistakes as defining them or reducing their influence or capacity to lead.
IS WILLING TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT, EVEN WHEN IT IS DIFFICULT
An empowered leader is able to step back from a situation and to review it with a clear head. They seek the best outcome, rather than focusing on the impact it may have on the level of power they hold. An empowered leader doesn’t hijack a leadership agenda to meet their own needs. They are empowered enough to meet those needs without external validation, instead, they see their role as a leader as being part of empowering others.
When leaders are empowered they are more capable of empowering others. They do not view power as a finite resource to be retained at all costs. They do not seek external validation of their importance and power. They know that power is an organisational asset and they act with greater goals than gaining more power. The easiest way to recognize an empowered leader is to study how they behave with others.
If you want to become a more empowered leader reflect on which of these six traits you already embody and which ones you need to develop further. As an empowered leader, you’ll learn to manage difficult workplace situations with ease. Becoming more empowered as a leader means that your relationships with those around you are not viewed through the lens of whether or not they are a threat to your power. You’ll take actions from a position of confidence rather than fear of a loss of power.
Here are six ways becoming an empowered leader will improve your professional life.
- Being more comfortable with conflict and power struggles at work. Because you’re less concerned with external validation of your power you won’t feel under attack when conflicts arise.
- Developing more insight. When you’re open to influence and to other people’s wisdom you can grow as a leader as well as a subject matter expert. A willingness to learn from others means that your professional skills will improve.
- Manage uncertainty with less anxiety. I love this interview with Jacinda Ardern, who turns self-doubt into a positive, a chance to reflect on her own preparation and decision-making.
- Using your power to achieve better outcomes. Rather than acting competitively, fearful of losing power, you’ll be able to collaborate effectively with others and empower those around you.
- Making friends with failure. When you make a mistake or get something wrong you’ll see it as an opportunity to develop your leadership skills and knowledge. This will help you to innovate and be more responsive.
- Making difficult decisions with more confidence. Because you’re empowered you’ll be focused on the more important outcomes. You’ll make decisions and take actions that are working towards a greater goal than keeping a grip on your own power.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO BECOME A BETTER LEADER, OR DEVELOP THE LEADERS WITHIN YOUR ORGANISATION? JOIN MY AUTHENTIC LEADERSHIP LEARNING SET
Originally published on: https://www.silewalsh.com/articles/the-six-character-traits-empowered-leaders-have