As leaders, we should be empowering our people, not dis-empowering them. Be that as it may, here is Dan Rockwell with five ways poor leaders actually dis-empower people on their teams and under their care.

Originally posted by Dan Rockwell

Don’t expect bold performance from dis-empowered people. 

You drain, discourage, and demotivate, if your goal is conformity.

An egotistical need for control – in those with positional authority – dis-empowers others. In reality, incompetent leaders are afraid of empowered people.

5 negative results of dis-empowerment:

  1. Frustration. Anger permeates life when people feel powerless.
  2. Blame. Powerless people use “they” more than “I”.
  3. Paranoia. People believe you’re out to get them when you make them feel powerless.
  4. Anxiety. Incompetent leaders use anxiety as motivation.
  5. Helpless. Incompetent leaders make people feel they have no voice.

5 ways incompetent leaders dis-empower good people:

  1. Exclude, don’t include. Keep decision-making processes narrow and small. Elitism makes you feel powerful and others feel like outsiders.
  2. Make people feel they don’t matter. Minimize or ignore experience, expertise, and talent on the team. After all, you know and understand more than anyone else.
  3. Keep blabbing.
  4. Isolate yourself.
    • Stay at arm’s length.
    • Don’t physically touch people.
    • Act busy. We all know busy and important are the same thing.
    • Never walk around the office.
    • Avoid front-line people at all costs.
  5. Treat people like ignorant tools. Create policies without collaborating with them.

Powerful isn’t egotistically making everyone conform to your wishes.

Real power gives power.

5 ways skillful leaders expand power in teammates:

  1. Set limitations that keep teammates focused on what matters. Feeling powerful is about doing meaningful work.
  2. Create four viable options with others, but delegate final decisions toothers. Choice feels like control. Control is power.
  3. Have candid conversations before making decisions.
  4. Seek and give feedback on behaviors and results.
    • How are you doing?
    • How am I doing?
    • How are we doing?
  5. Reject the need to be liked. Embrace thee need to have influence and impact. Leaders who need to be liked cause instability by making exceptions.

Powerful people look for a way forward, not a way out.

How do leaders dis-empower others?

How might leaders make others feel powerful?