Empowerment During Change Series: Leading by Liberating

Published: Thursday, June 5, 2014

It is almost a certainty that you and the company that you work for will go through a major change. With every change comes fear, doubt, tension, uncertainty, and anxiety.

Good leaders recognize these emotions and work to institute meaningful conversations to reduce the levels. Great leaders empower their employees to overcome these emotions which enables transformational change. Here are a couple of ways they do this.

 Empowerment through freedom of expression

Many times leaders feel they must show a strong front, when they are facing the same challenges and anxieties as their employees. Leaders should be encouraged to share their struggles and empathize with their employees. This builds trust and an emotional connection. Some might see this as exposing weaknesses, however, if the leader also provides ways that he/she is coping with the emotion and demonstrating ways to turn it into a positive, it gives people hope and releases them from having to solve the challenge by themselves.

 Empowerment through authority and accountability

Great leaders realize the best assets they have are people that are empowered to be accountable and have the authority to make decisions. Leaders have to present the vision and direction, but then should delegate how to get the work done to others. This does two things:

  1. It gives the employee ownership. They now have a stake in achieving the vision during the time of change. It is one thing for a leader to tell his employees that all ideas and innovations are welcome that are aligned with the vision, it is quite another when that is truly practiced. I tell the people that work with me to “Make Big Decisions and Make Big Mistakes”. 99% of the time they will make amazing decisions the accelerate growth and builds a legacy during change.
  2. During change many decisions just need to happen. One of the hardest parts to change in companies, is the fact that it happens to slowly. By providing authority and accountability, the details can be worked out faster, and more concrete decisions can be made.

As you have gone through changes, what have been your most liberating moments? What were the moments when you felt like you were trapped and unable to change effectively?


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