1) Set parameters and really commit to them:
It is extremely motivating to be able to know what you can do and when you can do it. By knowing your area of empowerment, it gives great flexibility in dealing with clients, your parents ( if you are a teenager for example )and gives you a sense of ownership. But for this to happen, the partner in your process must truly commit to empowering you and others. Get that agreement.
2) Don’t get in the way:
Self-explanatory. Once you are empowered, accept that you *may* make mistakes. What can kill your enthusiasm is the boss cutting in ever so regularly to ‘ remove’ that empowerment. Bosses, take a leaf from Robert Sutton’s provocative book “Weird Ideas That Work” – where he says ” reward success AND failure. Punish indecision”. Basically, to take your team to the next level, allow the people you empowered to get on with the job, and even make mistakes
3) Conduct regular reviews
Powerful contracting can be done if there is agreement to have a review on a pre-set basis. The intervals can be flexible but long enough so that those empowered can have time to prove themselves or their methods. Regular reviews allows both parties to pull-back or to expand the scope of authority/freedom
4) Expand the power circle
If (3) has gone well, don’t be afraid to expand the scope of power an employee, subordinate, teenager i.e. increase the diameter of their ‘ power circle’. If you are the source of authority, empowerment leads to your team being a force multiplier, instead of being merely extensions of yourself. Case in point: a 1996 Himalayan expedition saw the original team split in two for practical reasons. By empowering the lead team to call the shots in establishing the route to the summit, instead of controlling every aspect of the climb’s tactics, the leader managed to pull off a summit success for most of the team by the end of the expedition. I know this works. I was that leader
So, in short, Commit, Get Outta the Way, Review and Power up!