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Chapter 10. Strengthen Others > Enhance Self-Determination

Enhance Self-Determination

Leaders accept and act on the paradox of power: you become more powerful when you give your own power away. Long before empowerment was written into the popular vocabulary, exemplary leaders understood how important it was that their constituents felt strong, capable, and efficacious. Constituents who feel weak, incompetent, and insignificant consistently underperform, they want to flee the organization, and they’re ripe for disenchantment, even revolution.

People who feel powerless, be they managers or individual contributors, tend to hoard whatever shreds of power they have. Powerless managers tend to adopt petty and dictatorial styles, for example. Powerlessness also creates organizational systems in which political skills are essential and “covering yourself” and “passing the buck” are the preferred modes of handling inter-departmental differences.[1]


  

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