Empowering Others


Winston Churchillmandela_protrait2_280_425_80_smahatma gandhiGeorge Washingtonabraham lincolnMargaret_Thatcher_1983

As you reviewed the pictures of the famous leaders, I’m sure your first instinct was trying to remember their names. Once named, you probably remembered the position and/or roll they played greatly influencing their country or possibly the world. What did they all have in common? All were LEADERS!

As I have been reading The Superintendent as CEO Standards-Based Performance by Hoyle, Bjork, Collier and Glass (2005), I’ve been reflecting about the leaders I have worked for as well as famous historical leaders. Its a natural process for us to compare our bosses to each other and to other successful leaders! Why were they successful leaders? What characteristic did they not possess preventing more success? What strengths did each possess helping them develop into successful leaders?

While reading Standard 1-Strategic Leadership and District Culture what an Executive Superintendent should know and be able to do, the fourth indicator really jumped out at me. “Leaders should have the skills to empower others to reach high levels of performance.” Even though this book is about the role of the superintendent, leaders at all levels can benefit.

The following four benefits of empowerment are adapted from the works of Mertz, and Henderson (1990), Lewis (2001), and Clifton and Nelson (1992):

1. “Empowerment creates a positive, supportive school district culture and climate. It binds staff members together by shared professional aspirations and thereby fosters espirit de corps among them.”

2. “Empowerment provides a mechanism for rewarding staff members. CEO’s create a positive environment by encouraging and promoting people with passion and talent. this process inspires individuals to empower others thus results in higher-performing school districts.”

3. “Empowerment builds a pool of talent. Individuals within the district, including women, minorities, and white males who may not fit the traditional image of school administrator, will be given the chance to advance. Rather than searching for talent outside the district, encouraging the potential within ensures continuity and morale.”

4. “Empowerment opens channels of communication. When trust is established between the CEO and others, the real issues of district improvement can be openly discussed. Empowerment creates a flow of information that is often blocked in school bureaucracies.”

As you read this list above, are all these benefits of empowerment in place where you work? If not, leaders are not empowering staff members. If you are a leader, I highly recommend The Superintendent as the CEO Standards-Based Performance. Its a good read coupled with research and scenarios to help the reader/leader clearly understand the role as leader/Superintendent.

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