More Expert Tools to Empower Others

He had been a successful leader of this organization for several years; however, two of his staff members were in an unhealthy conflict that was impacting the whole team.  The staff members did not show love or honor for each other.  Their words tore each other down, and they gossiped about each other.  They were not being held accountable for self-control or how they responded to each other.

Have you ever faced unhealthy relationships within your team?  In last month’s article, we discussed the first four of the seven pillars of healthy relationships that will lead to empowerment of others to accomplish your mission.  These pillars are love, honor, self-control and responsibility, which provide a foundation.  However, the leader in the above scenario also needed to apply the next three pillars of truth, faith and vision to bring his team to unity and empowerment.

Empower through Truth

When I ask others about values that are important to them, honesty is a common item on the list.  Honesty requires truth.  But why is truth so important to us?  Because truth is the basis for trust.  A relationship cannot survive without trust.  Without trust, division is the result and the downfall.  A famous quote of Abraham Lincoln is, “A house divided against itself will not stand.”

You can’t empower others without trust and therefore without truth.  You need to create a safe place (love, honor, self-control and responsibility) where truth can be spoken and received.  The leader in the above story needs to speak truth to both staff members.   Do you speak the truth to yourself?  Do you speak truth to others?

Empower through Faith

Faith is the ability to hope for what is not seen.  What do you put your faith in?  You need to define this for yourself.  Traveling through circumstances and with people can be a rocky road.  Faith is what keeps us steady.  Horatio Spafford composed a well-known hymn titled, “It Is Well with My Soul.”  It is not written because of the many happy circumstances in his life, but instead is his declaration of faith as he sailed past the area where four of his daughters died after a shipwreck.  Faith is what kept him and his wife moving forward in purpose.

Faith can keep us steady amid relationships.  It helps us not to be codependent on others and their actions.  Faith is a foundation rather than our success being dependent on an outcome or a person.   It allows us to empower others with freedom.  With empowering others, there is always a risk, because you ultimately can’t control another person.  However, the benefits of an empowered person towards a common mission far outweigh the risks!

The above leader needs to step out in faith as he confronts the unhealthy interactions within his team.  How does your faith help you to empower others?

Empower through Vision

Vision is what keeps us together.  You can’t empower someone without having a clear vision of where you are going.  First, you need to be strong in who you are and where you are going.  Next, before you can empower another, you need to know who they are and where they are going.  A mistake is to empower someone else and then find that they are in another boat going the opposite direction.

Take time to know the other person and if their vision is aligned with you.  Building relationship and connection is important here.  Sometimes you can define quickly if there is an alignment of vision, other times not.  It can be a process, and don’t label the process as good/bad.  In helping someone define who they are, you have helped them even when your vision is not aligned.  You also in the process have clarified your vision.

I was working with a leader who hired a new person who looked like the right fit for the position.  However, as he helped her to get to know who she was and the requirements of the position, she realized that part of the position fit her, but the highest priority of the position did not.  It would be foolish to continue to empower her in the position that did not fit her and would not take them in the right direction.

Summary

Part of the conflict in the story at the beginning of this article with the two hostile team members is that they were not united in the vision.  They each had a different perspective on that vision.  I wish that I could say that this story has a happy ending, but the leader of the organization let fear of conflict control him.  He was unwilling to step out in faith to speak truth into these relationships and to clarify the vision.  He did care about each of these staff members, but he did not honor them by calling out the best in them.  He also did not hold them accountable for self-control and responsibility.  Instead he swept the pursuit of healthy relationships under the rug and now the organization is tripping over the bump in the rug.

How will you use the seven pillars of healthy relationships to empower others to the potential of your people and your organization?  I challenge you not to ignore these pillars but to be proactive in building a healthy culture that will empower you to your best.

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