“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” – Bill Gates
Whether you're a mentor, employer, parent, or teacher, there are countless ways for you to be a leader and empower others. The concept of leadership has shifted from telling others what to do to empowering them to discover the best solution. Listed below are simple, important ways you can empower others.
Be The Example
Would you listen to fitness advice from someone who eats junk food and doesn’t exercise? Of course not. We are hard-wired to emulate the people who inspire us.
Look at your own actions and behaviors. Are you setting a good example for your children, mentees, employees, or students? The more you work on improving yourself – the more you show that you recognize the need to improve and actually work to do it – the more effective you will be as a leader.
Encourage Others to Find a Solution
Holding back the answer to a problem is easier said than done. It is often quicker to give instructions or tell someone the answer, but you are robbing them of the opportunity to act independently and build problem-solving skills.
Hold space open for creative thinking. This will require discipline and patience on your part. Be timely in asking thought provoking questions and providing hints or prompts to help steer someone in the right direction. Allowing them to discover the answer will empower them in future situations.
Be a Force of Positivity
Be pro-active and mindful of your words and actions. Your energy can uplift others or bring them down, especially when you are in a leadership role. The behavior of the group or individual will be a reflection of you.
Practice spreading positivity by giving genuine compliments and being generous with praise instead of criticism. Smile more and share goodwill towards others with daily acts of generosity. The smallest action can have a big impact on the behavior of those around you.
Speak Openly and Honestly
If you always speak with integrity others will follow your example. If you make a mistake, own it. If you don’t know the answer, admit it. It is important that you believe in what you say and stand behind your actions. If you are not confident in your words your body language will convey to others that you cannot be trusted.
Being a good listener will help you know the right moment to speak openly. Try to sense if the individual is receptive to honest feedback about their situation.
It takes commitment and integrity to be a great leader and empower others. Learn how you can become a leader, empowering young people to remain in school, overcome hardship, and succeed in life. You can make a difference in a child's life by becoming a mentor through Communities In Schools of Jacksonville.