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‘Those who are empowered will always do more than is expected’

What do we mean by empower? Like so many grandiloquent words we hear on a regular basis, the definition is hardly ever questioned. Instead, the word is accepted as an axiom of the English language.

The general definition is ‘to enable or permit’. Yawn! We know empowerment is way beyond just giving someone permission to do something (as important as granting permission often is). How do we tell if an individual is empowered? I like to think of the result of an empowered individual is that they are willing and able to take on more responsibility in that particular field or skill. In other words, they are able to climb the ladder to confidence.

Say, what is the ladder to confidence? In every skill we do, we sit at one of four steps on the ladder. Confidence doesn’t just happen, there are steps of learning and experience to get there!

Avoiding. No knowledge of the skills required to undertake the task. This is often the person who refuses to give a speech at a wedding. They are avoiding the public speaking because not only do they not have the ability, they don’t even know what is required.

Reluctant. A basic knowledge of the steps required to undertake the task, but you will likely hesitate and wish someone else would do it for you. This is Uncle Geoff at the same wedding, about to give a speech. He can do it, and he’ll do an alright job of it, but he’d really rather someone else did it.

Understanding of the skills required. You can complete the task and complete it well. You certainly look like you know what you’re doing, but you’re not yet well practised. It is likely you will not look nervous. Think about a task you perform maybe once or twice per year. It’s not quite second nature but you know you can do it well, even if it takes a bit of mental effort.

Confident. Complete understanding of the details of the tasks and skills required. You can complete the task to a high standard, feel good about it and likely even teach others to complete the task.

Generally, time and practise are the best methods for climbing the ladder, but it is mentors we have, those around us that provide a massive amount of empowerment to climb. Without that, ‘time on the job’ confidence will lend itself instead to cockiness; overconfidence and lack of true understanding.

If an individual is empowered, they move closer to the next step on the ladder. Their willingness to take on more responsibility is the manifestation of empowerment. Someone who is avoiding or hesitant is certainly not going to want to take on more responsibility, though they may well take the opportunity to improve. Competent or confident people will likely be looking to expand their knowledge either in the same field or into similar fields, showing they are empowered either by the knowledge and understanding of the field itself, or by others helping each other along.

So, what field can you empower someone in? Our tagline at Presentation Boss is ‘Engage and Empower’ – and you know we will empower you to be a better speaker.

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