50 Posts 50 Rules: Tom Peters on Leadership #17

17. Leaders are natural empowerment freaks. How can a leader magnify the efforts of the team toward a goal without regularly and ruthlessly empowering others? Trick question they can’t. The real question is do you know how to effectively empower your team?No?There is model developed by Hersey and Blanchard quite some time ago that has formed the basis of Situational Leadership. It essentially looks at people in two dimensions. The first is the degree of supportive behavior needed to enable them to complete a given task. The second is the degree of directive behavior needed to help them complete the same task. The model describes the four quadrants created when placing these two dimensions into a simple x-y graph. 

Quadrant 1 (lower right): high directive low supportive. This is where a leader tells there employee what to do how to do it when to do it by where it needs to be done etc. translation there is NO empowerment here. Empowering an employee who needs this type of leadership would fail. 

Quadrant 2 (upper right): high supportive low directive. This is more of a coaching approach. The leader tells the employee what needs to be done, when it must be done by and then offers their support in getting the task completed. In this quadrant the leader empowers the employee to decide what support (resources, direction, explanation etc) they need to complete the task, nothing more. Again giving more empowerment would not work out.

Quadrant 3: (Upper left): High supportive low directive. In this approach the objective is shared and a timeline may be given. The focus is on providing the employee the support needed without giving orders. The employee has developed to a point where they have the technical competence to complete the task and the motivation to do so.

Quadrant 4: (lower left): Low supportive low directive. Here we have assessed that the employee has the technical competence and the motivation to complete the task with minimal intervention from us. They get it, they do not need specific direction and they do not need our support. So we empower them to get the task complete giving them the objective and any relevant big picture deadlines that may be relevant. Final thought here we do not abandon them we stay in touch with them to ensure they have not encountered any unforeseen barriers they need our help with. 

Quadrant 4 is the empowerment zone. The other three are developmental opportunities!

Challenge: Read up on the situational leadership model. Better yet attend a Blanchard webinar on the same. They have a great resource of archived webinars you can watch and learn from. CLICK ON THIS LINK. This is one of the best free web resources I know of. You will have to register with them and have Webex on your computer but it is worth it.

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