Empowerment is a journey that unfolds as you begin to work more inclusively with others in your business. I wish to suggest two points for your consideration. Firstly, people empowerment is driven by thinking differently about people and, secondly, empowerment comes from relaxing some boundaries so that how you operate, the “real you”, is made strategically visible.
In this sense, empowerment requires a way of thinking that sees the people we live and work with as walking, sleeping, dreaming sources of incredible potential – natural treasures to be unearthed. They have depth and talent not fully known to either you or them. And therein lies a wonderful mystery; in knowing them and in working with them, you are a powerful catalyst. And their growth, in turn, triggers something equal and positive in you. Delight. Innovation. Discovery. Hope. World changing.
An incredible way for entrepreneurs to empower others is through inclusivity. To use an equestrian analogy, it is to stretch your hand and help someone mount the stallion you are already on. Then on your outride, contextualize the scenery and let them witness your reflexes and decisions while you cover familiar and uncharted terrain on the journeytoward achieving specific objectives. Inevitably, vary your trot and finally reach your destination to share the victory of achieving a challenging task. On the journey, remain open to dialogue – for clarifications and questions – but caution against the belief that one-size-fits-all, bearing in mind that absolute answers are often sought when people are learning something completely new and are out of their comfort zones. The idea is to co-learn as fresh perspectives are gained and new scenarios not previously considered are explored. In short, you are being real and you are creating a non-judgmental learning environment where knowledge, skill and creativity can prosper.
During empowerment employees should be safe to risk, be flexible, be curious and invent. In turn, this intensifies into new spirals of learning and co-learning, which can benefit your business tremendously.
Madeleine van der Steege, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sneak preview – (Part 2) Marie’s Story“ I had one prayer. It was an early morning on my way to my work as HIV-Aids Lay Counselor Coordinator. The hill in front of me was very steep, and summer time in the Cape is not made for hard walking. From deep within me came the prayer “I want to grow and develop more”. It was an ache inside me that I had ever since I left school. It was a hunger to know more, and to be more than just another Coloured woman with a fractured past, an unfinished education and only legs for transport. The beginning of the answer to that prayer happened unexpectedly…”
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