Share an example of a leader you feel empowers others. What are
some traits that stand out in terms of leadership and
empowerment? Be sure to include how they empower and what
others could learn from their example.
A leader I feel empowers others was the last facility chief I had in the Air
Force. The last facility I was in was a remote short tour, a tour where you are
separated from your family for a year. In that environment, it's really easy for
people to not really care. After all, we were only there for a year, so it's not
like the facility was really ours or that we really had to care. My facility chief
disagreed with that sentiment, and wanted to fix as much as he could while
he was there. He got everyone in the facility on board with a combination of
enforcing discipline (revoking extra privileges we had all "elected" to give
ourselves), promising rewards, and appealing to our professionalism and
pride in our career field. It worked, and he gave everyone in the facility a
certain number of tasks to do with a deadline to get them done by. When it
came to how we got them done, he told us to use our best judgment and let
him know if we needed help or for him to throw his rank around a bit. By first
getting us on board with the idea and then allowing us to complete the tasks
under our own power, he helped us all grow as professionals.
The main traits that stood out were integrity, trust, charisma, and dedication.
He didn't have to put in all that effort, but he did anyway because it was the
right thing to do. He earned our trust as a leader and trusted us to complete
our tasks in return. Trusting your subordinates and letting them spread their
own wings is key to employee empowerment (Krow, 2017). He had the
charisma to get us all on board with his plan. Lastly, he was the hardest
working person in the facility. More than once, he was there when I arrived to
open in the morning and was still there when I left a closing shift. He never
asked us to do anything he wasn't willing to do himself.
Do you feel that you have to be in a leadership role to lead?
Absolutely not. Any time there's more than one person working on
something, there's an opportunity to lead. It doesn't necessarily have to have
a title or increased responsibility to go with it, but even just making sure that
everyone is doing well mentally can be very helpful to the team overall. It
can be hard to find the right balance. We've all worked with someone that
came off as annoying because they were trying to act like your boss when
they weren't. The important thing, in my experience, is to be sincere and
Krow, E. (2017, June 14).
The key to employee-empowering