In every leadership situation of life we have basically two choices, empowerment or despotic control.
Having experienced both throughout my short existence on this planet I am in no doubt about which of the two is preferable.
Early on in our experience as parents we took the decision that we would aim to make our children as independent as they could be at each stage of their development. Naturally I was the stronger proponent of this, it is difficult to be pushing this little person to stand firm and be independent of you when all of your instinct is to protect them and hold them close.
As parents it is our responsibility to prepare these precious gifts entrusted to us to be able to leave us and make their own way in the world. Some parents want to keep their offspring dependant on them in perpetuity while others verge on neglect in their idea of parenting.
In all things striking a middle ground is incredibly difficult at times and having two diverse adults as parents is extremely beneficial in supplying that balance.
I have had employers who gave us no autonomy whatsoever in the day to day fulfilment of our work. Conversely there have been bosses that you never saw from one week to the next and gave no support at all, leaving you entirely to your own initiative.
I once attended a conference where the main speaker was a pastor of a large Nevada church, he was talking about the responsibility of leadership and what he had come to see as his main duty. Essentially he felt that his primary role was to put himself out of a job. This is obviously a gross simplification of what he did, but in essence that was his aim.
He quickly identified the need to find and mentor his successor and allow the congregation to follow their dreams, which invariably fitted in with the overall vision of the church.
This isn’t what generally happens in groups of people. There is a clawing and clamoring to get to the top of the pile and then an all out campaign to stay there, meanwhile everyone else is trying to knock them off and take their place. Sadly this is case in all walks of life and has been the blight of history.
Seldom do we find a group of people operating in harmony in any walk of life where each is fulfilling their role to their best. Good leaders can identify key strengths and allow those people to flourish in that position. This allows fulfillment of vision in the individual as well as the whole and creates satisfying environments.
The unfortunate position today is that so few people are actually interested in throwing their all into anything. We want to go to work just enough to get what we need to do what we really want to do. This applies to outside organisations as well, a hundred years ago volunteers accounted 98% of most non profit outfits.
This is no longer the case, with exceptions, clubs are slowly dying and we are paying full time staff to do what we are no longer willing to.
The pictures in this post are of banoffee tarts made by my 14 year old son, his 11 year old sister made the marinade for the duck both without demur or complaints.
I will still continue to believe that encouraging empowerment is best way to having fulfilled and contented people.
Convincing them of this is the thing that takes the effort.