It's not just semantics LO6281

Virginia I. Shafer (
Thu, 28 Mar 1996 22:40:56 -0700 (MST)

Replying to LO6240 --

Dave Birren shared with us:
>I met yesterday with my agency's senior management team to review the
>concept of empowerment and get their agreement to use it as a basis for
>developing various management processes. Attached is the description we
>talked about, for anyone interested in it. Basically, the group liked the
>concepts, but they have trouble with the term "empowerment".
>We have a long, though somewhat spotty, tradition of what we call
>delegation and participative management, but neither of those terms
>captures the sense of two-way accountability that empowerment means. Does
>anyone out there have a better word or phrase to express it?


How about "leading" or "coaching?" Warren Bennis discussing empowerment
in _Reinventing Leadership_ says, "I like the model of a coach. One thing
that interests me about coaching is that when you go to a coach, you don't
try to deny or defend too much. You really talk about what your
weaknesses are, because you're going there to get better...Give your
people the license to tell the truth, remind people of what's important,
and then set expectations of excellence. Again, I think you do this by
modeling." [Even the top seeded tennis player has a coach.]

In your descriptions, you refer constantly to management levels, but I
didn't see where you ascribe leadership responsibilitites. Maybe you can
define empowerment as leadership?

You might also want to visit the archives for January/February and sort by
thread, looking for our "ping pong" match on defining empowerment. I
recall your input when you shared the elements of "direction, freedom,

Good luck!

Ginger Shafer
The Leadership Dimension
"Bringing Leadership to Life"

-- (Virginia I. Shafer)

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