Gary Winters

Coach  Workshop Facilitator Author

Empower others – give yours away!

So you’re in charge, huh? You’ve got power, baby!  You can use it make things happen. Before you let all that power go to your head, let’s take a closer look…

I once worked with a general manager of a large electronics firm (2000+ employees) who had 17 people reporting to him directly. He loved his power. One rather unusual practice he enforced was insisting that none of these people, except him, was allowed to read the entire strategic plan. In other words, Marketing didn’t really know the strategic initiatives of Manufacturing, which didn’t really know the goals of Finance, which didn’t have access to the plans for Human Resources, and so on. The GM believed that this was good for the organization – a source of creativity and innovation.

The actual result? Innumerable false starts, debilitating conflict, and confused and angry managers and line employees. But the General Manager got to feel powerful.

In a recent post, I listed Seven Simple Rules for Leaders. The fifth is, Empower others – give yours away.

Sounds a little oxymoronic, doesn’t it?

Where does your power come from? There are at least seven sources:

  1. Legitimate: that which is granted you by an organization in terms of your position. For instance, you have a certain amount of budget authority; you may have power to hire and fire, etc.
  2. Expert: if you know more about something than others, you have the power to control what happens to that expertise. You can share or withhold your expertise.
  3. Coercive: the ability to deliver a negative consequence and/or to make people fearful.
  4. Reward: the ability to deliver a positive consequence and/or make people feel good.
  5. Information: possessing more information (or access to that information) than others gives you the power to control who gets to use that information.
  6. Connective: comes from your perceived relationship to other people in power.
  7. Referent: your own personality and skill as a visionary and communicator.

Now let’s look at three myths about power:

Myth #1: Power is your reward for being in charge.

Nope, power is a resource you have at your disposal; it’s a means to an end.

Myth #2: Power is finite; there’s only so much to go around.

Nope, leadership power is probably infinite, and the more you share, the more you have at your disposal.

Myth #3: Power is something you can accumulate, like money.

Nope, power is more like time, which can only be used, just as time can only be spent, power can only be wielded. Leadership power isn’t a battery, it’s more like a generator. It’s not a pie that, once divided, leaves you with less. It’s a lit candle, which when used to light other candles, multiplies rather than divides.

So, empower others – give away your power. Remember, great leaders don’t focus on creating willing followers, they focus on creating more leaders. They don’t horde their power, they give it away constantly. How can you do this?

  1. Keep people informed. They share information freely.
  2. Help people get connected and build their professional networks.
  3. Mentor people and teach them skills.
  4. Encourage people to think for themselves, not blindly follow you (or others).
  5. Recognize and reward people for their efforts and accomplishments.
  6. Build self-esteem.
  7. Increase responsibility and accountability for those around you.
  8. Create a climate of possibility.
  9. Eliminate fear.
  10. Share decision-making.

If you fear giving away your power, you’ll only create fear on your team, which is a poor motivator at best. Fearful people will do things because they believe they have to, not because they want to.

Give away your power – empower others, and get out of their way. You will be amazed at the results. And here’s what’s truly ironic – when you give away your power, you will have even more power to make things happen.

“What ELSE Your Boss Never Told You” is the sequel to the very popular “What Your Boss Never Told You.” Packed inside are more tips, techniques, and insights about the challenging, but rewarding leadership position.

“What ELSE Your Boss Never Told You” is written in a conversational tone, as though you and the author were enjoying a cup of coffee and talking about the issues that emerge for new leaders. It stands alone, and/or could be read before or after the first volume, “What Your Boss Never Told You.” You can start with any chapter and read in any order you like.

if you search for a book on management, you’ll find a staggering 600,000+ books currently available. How can you narrow that down? “What Your Boss Never Told You” is the best place to start.

No textbook here – this book is short and sweet. It’s designed to help you “unpack” your new job and be effective from the first day with your new team. It contains twenty-one chapters filled with the wisdom Winters has gathered from real managers – effective, successful leaders in organizations much like yours.

Leaders make decisions every day – big and small. Most know that if they include others in the decision-making process, the quality of those decisions – and the commitment to them – will likely improve. That said, they also know it’s impractical, if not impossible, to include others in every decision they confront.

“To Do or Not To Do” tackles the question of when to make decisions on your own, and when to involve your team. It gives you a deceptively simple but proven method to determine, when you are facing a difficult decision, how to decide how to decide.

Far too many meetings are dreadful, mind-numbing, energy-draining, productivity-sapping, colossal wastes of time. As someone once said, “To kill time, a meeting is the perfect weapon.”

Here’s the deal: if you’re willing to learn and apply the techniques in “So, How Was Your Meeting?”, you’ll call fewer meetings, while vastly improving the ones you do lead. They’ll take less time, have more balanced participation, produce better decisions, and result in concrete action items for follow-up afterwards.

While there are thousands of books written for people about to retire, this may be the only book for people who manage soon-to-retire employees. Written in a casual, conversational style, “Managing the Soon To Retire Employee” will give you everything you need to know to move forward with confidence and grace.

You can be successful with Sooners. It won’t happen by chance, and it’s not a matter of pulling some management “trick” out of your hat. But you can learn how to do it, and you can apply what you’ve learned right away.

Managing friends or former peers can be awkward. When you become the boss, everything about these relationships can suddenly be uncomfortable. There’s a new set of ground rules to establish – as manager, you are going be accountable for the work performance of friends or former co-workers on the team, and they are going to have to adjust to the fact that they now report to you. Everyone involved can feel awkward and hesitant about the future. 

Have you been approached by management with an offer to promote you to supervision? Or, are you mulling over the possibility for the future? Find yourself not sure whether to accept the promotion?

If so, you’ve come to the right place. Help! They Want to Make ME a Supervisor will help you sort out a very big question: Should you accept the offer to become a supervisor? Once you’ve read this book, you’ll be confident that you’ve made the best decision for you and for your organization.